86-year-old man retires after 65 years in sewing business

Published: May. 3, 2021 at 6:04 PM EDT
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Metamora, Ohio (WTVG) - A Metamora man is finally retiring after working for more than half-a-century in the sewing business.

Bernard “Bernie” Sominski, 86, spent much of his life repairing old and new sewing machines.

“I enjoyed taking something that’s not working properly and making it work,” said Sominski.

Sominski got started in the sewing business when he was just 20-years-old.

“I worked for a short time in a factory and I knew I didn’t want to do that all my life,” said Sominski. “I knew a gentleman that was a manager of a sewing machine company in Toledo, so I called him and he gave me a job.”

Sominksi says when he was hired he didn’t even know how to sew.

“I never even thought about a sewing machine.”

He opened several sewing machine repair businesses throughout southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio, before eventually opening Domestic Sewing Center in Metamora, Ohio, in 1967.

“We took care of our customers,” Sominski said. “We have customers from far and wide.”

Over the years, Sominski learned how to work on sewing machines that were more than 100 years old.

“How ever many there are on the market, I’ve worked with them,” joked Sominski. “Once I knew the basics, you just picked up on it as time went on.”

In June 2020, Sominski was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and was forced to make the difficult decision to retire from the job he loved.

“It was very hard for me. I closed my business on April the 17th just because I had to and not a desire to do so.”

Over the weekend, his family and friends gathered for a surprise retirement party in honor of Sominski.

“Totally surprised. It was awesome, just awesome,” Sominski said with tears in his eyes.

Sominski says what he will miss the most is not just working on the sewing machines, but the people sitting behind them.

“I appreciate all my customers through the years and I’m going to miss them.”

Sominski says he is looking forward to spending more time with his wife, Shirley, of 66 years and his four granddaughters.

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