Teresa Hammond/209 Business Journal
Changing Thread owner Denise Montez in her workspace on the lower floor
of Remember When Again on North Third Avenue in Oakdale.
Former owner of Sara’s Dry Cleaning and Alterations, Montez has opened
an alterations only business in a space of the downtown shop.

Local seamstress relocates business to downtown Oakdale

BY TERESA HAMMOND

Denise Montez never would have imagined her life as a seamstress a decade ago. Yet the former Hershey employee and past owner of Sara’s Dry Cleaning and Alterations is now exactly that.

Montez recently opened Changing Thread, an alterations business located in Remember When Again, 122 N. Third Ave., Oakdale.

“I’ve just always sewn, for as long as I can remember,” the new business owner said. “Mom started me sewing when I was just a kid.”

Montez shared it was a skill she continued to do well into adult life, taking it next level when she and her brother purchased the cleaning business a decade ago.

“It’s a different type of sewing,” she shared. “That is a learning experience in itself.”

And learn she did, as she and her brother grew the dry cleaning business, the alteration portion of the business grew as well. As the business grew, so did her ability to deliver a quality service in a timely manner. Montez shared she also picked the brains of those in the trade to not only learn, but invest in the right equipment to provide a quality service for clients.

“When we sold the shop, I elected to keep my machines, because I still need to work and this is a trade I know and understand,” she shared.

Now over half a dozen machines occupy her work space in the lower level of the downtown Oakdale shop. Each of the machines has a specific purpose from surging, hemming and even leather and canvas sewing.

“We can do and have done anything,” Montez stated. “Once they (the customer) catch on to what we do, we have repeat customers.”

The location of the shop came fairly easy, as Montez is close friends with the current owner. An upstairs space has been created for fittings, with work space below the shop. The business name also seemed to come to the owner equally as easy.

“… because all I seem to do is change thread,” Montez stated.
As someone who quite literally happened upon the business of alterations, Montez shared there are a number of things she enjoys about aiding clients with alteration needs.

“I love when the girls come in for prom because I get to see all the beautiful gowns and all the beautiful girls,” she said. “I love that because I get to see so many beautiful garments.”

Montez shared she enjoys making the customer happy, adding the biggest challenge in the gown alteration business can sometimes be with unfamiliar fabric.

“Most of it’s pretty standard and then once in a while, especially with the bridesmaid dresses and prom dresses you’ll get a fabric that’s just a bit more challenging,” she said.

Not one to take risk and respect the integrity of her business, Montez takes extreme care when working with clients’ garments and special items.

Now with her spot set up and ready for business, Montez shared she’s excited to reconnect with past clients, as well as build relationships with new ones.

“I’m very excited,” she shared of her new beginning. “It’s a lot more relaxing for me.”

For additional information or to schedule an appointment, Montez may be reached at (209) 322-5623.

“It’s kind of like a painter,” she continued. “When a painter gets done painting a house, they get to step back and see the end results. That’s the same with alterations and with sewing, you get to step back and see the end results. I think that’s what I enjoy the most, seeing results.”