Tucked away in a small brick building in Manchester is Luca’s Tailor Shop. It’s been a fixture in that town for decades. Next week, it will close, as Luca Addabbo sews up a 60-year career.
At 18 years old, Addabbo moved from Bari, Italy to the United States. After living in Philadelphia for a few years he moved to join family in the Hartford area. In 1960 he opened the tailor shop. Now at age 81, it’s finally time for retirement.
“Well it’s been a long journey. I want to take it easy for a while,” said Addabbo, speaking with an Italian accent that still hasn’t faded.
Along that journey, Addabbo did it the old-world way. Quality over quantity.
“I make sure the work is right. It’s done the right way,” he said with a serious tone.
With that approach, this authentic Italian tailor has earned a reputation and the respect of many.
“I know he has a clientele of people that you probably wouldn’t expect or believe,” said Manchester Historical Society representative Dave Smith.
Among those clients, according to Smith, is Geno Auriemma. The UConn coach’s suits, like every one done at Luca’s, were tailored on antique machines. Around the room are sewing machines and other devices used for altering that are half a century old. Some, over 100 years old.
“These are the best machines you can have,” explained Addabbo. “Those are the heavy-duty you can do anything with that.”
While the business is small, Addabbo’s legacy is large and his customers will miss him.
“He’s been here so long. People probably feel like I do, sad to see him go,” said Chuck Schaper who stopped in Thursday to have pants altered.
Shaper stopped by to have pants repaired. Politely though, Addabbo turned him away as he has stopped taking orders so that he can close shop officially at the end of next week.
Asked what he’ll miss most there was no hesitation.
“The people,” he said. “I’m gonna miss that, but everything comes to the end.”
After 60 years in business it may have taken a pandemic to convince Addabbo to retire. He said with people working from home, people weren’t as concerned about their clothes anymore. Now, his plans are to sell the antique sewing machines, along with some dry-cleaning equipment before moving to the shore line to live near family.