Sue's Sewing & Alterations keeping people in stitches
Sunday, February 03, 2013 4:25 AM
By Jerry Jennings
Susan Rosenberger is definitely not one for sitting idly around.
She had just returned from Breezewood, Pennsylvania, where she picked a bus up that had been used for transport to the March for Life in Washington D.C. Driving excursion buses is part of her second job. In addition to driving, she also works mornings in the office for both Excursion Trailways and Buckeye Storage.
But most people in Ottawa and the surrounding communities know her best for her main business, Sue's Sewing & Alterations.
"I love to sew. It's relaxing, and the best thing about it is that I can stay at home and do it," she commented. "That's a real plus, because I can have a family life that women who work outside the home often miss." Time for her family is important to Sue-she has a son, Dale, 34, who is an over-the road truck driver and who has four kids she loves to hang out with, and a daughter, Leeza, 19, who is at Bowling Green State University studying event and travel planning with a minor in business. It also gives her time to be with husband Larry.
Rosenberger, who is originally from Washington Court House Ohio, moved here and started her business in 1990 shortly after meeting her husband Larry. She credits Marnie Ebbesmeier for giving her the idea.
Being an entrepreneur was not something new to her. After graduating from Miami Trace High School, she attended Nationwide Beauty Academy in Columbus and picked up some business credits at OSU and Clark State. Eventually she ended up owning two beauty salons, one in Jeffersonville and the other in South Charleston, both in the Springfield area where she was living at the time. Despite that, she still somehow found time to play semi-pro volleyball.
When she moved to Ottawa, she decided to get out of the beauty salon business. "The business environment here was entirely different. I had always liked sewing, so I took a tailoring class and decided to make the change."
The new business started slowly, but after a major flood, they remodeled their home to set up a separate shop area with its own entrance, and the business really took off. Before that, she supplemented the family income by driving bus for Ottawa-Glandorf Schools, which she did for thirteen years. She was also heavily involved during those years in athletics, working with and coaching volleyball, t-ball, baseball, and soccer.
The major part of her business is doing hemming, putting on buttons, and zippers, hook and eye, etc. She also gets a lot of alteration business for her specialty, formal wear, like wedding and prom dresses.. She does a lot of emergency work on men's suits, often to wear at funerals. "No job is too big or too small," she commented. "I'm always available for last minute emergencies, but if it's on a weekend, it's best to call in advance."
Speaking of such emergencies, she cited one in particular as memorable. "A young lady had bought a wedding dress when she was still basically an older girl, but hadn't tried it on since. As her body changed to a woman's-she wasn't overweight by any means, she had just filled out nicely as a young woman-the dress she had her heart set on wearing wouldn't fit. I got the call on Thursday. The wedding was Friday!"
Lesson learned? Sue's advice: "Always buy a dress a size too big. It's much easier to take in a dress than to make it bigger.' Fortunately, in the course of a scant four hours, she was able to make alterations that passed the eye test, enabling the young woman to wear her dream dress at her wedding.
In addition to the sewing itself, the part of the job she finds especially rewarding is the time she gets to spend chatting with her customers. "This place is like the barber shop in Mayberry...people come here not only too get their tailoring needs taken care of, but often just to talk. Many of my dear friends started out as customers first."
Sue's is located at her home at 602 East Main in Ottawa, phone 419-523-5550 or 419-969-0546. Hours are 1 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. Friday,and 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday ("when I'm not driving-call in advance!")