Parwin Parie has been altering people’s clothes in Orléans for over 30 years. The first business she had was in the Turkish Village strip mall on St. Joseph Blvd.
The native of Afghanistan learned how to sew when she was just six years old and crochet by the time she was eight.
|Parwin Parie is a master seamstress who has been operating a business in Orléans for nearly 30 years. FRED SHERWIN PHOTO
When she immigrated to Canada in the 80s, she wanted to help out her family financially and started a dry cleaning and alterations business in 1996. In 2004, she moved her business to the Chapel Hill mall at the corner of Jeanne d’Arc and Forest Valley Drive and renamed it Hill Cleaners.
A number of her clients moved with her and she started building on the solid foundation she had created at the St. Joseph location.
In 2016, she moved her business again when she took over the Spic & Span location in the Orléans Garden Shopping Centre.
It was a risky move, but Parie was confi-dent that her existing clientele and her well-earned reputation as a seamstress would make the transition as seamless as the move from St. Joseph to Chapel Hill 10 years earlier.
And for the first three years, it was relatively clear sailing until the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
Before the pandemic, more than half of Parie’s business was dry cleaning due to the fact that many of her clients were professionals who need their suits dry-cleaned on a regular business.
But when the pandemic hit everyone had to start working from home. Face-to-face business meetings were replaced by doing facetime on Zoom and formal business wear was no longer needed. Suits were replaced by casual wear. And when formal business wear was no longer needed, neither was dry cleaning.
The dry cleaning side of Parie’s business dried up almost overnight. But ironically, dry cleaning services were declared an essential service by most governments, including the Ontario provincial government as they provided frontline workers with a means to properly clean and disinfect their clothing.
In order to keep trying to pay the bills, Parie remained open and she used her sewing skills to make literally hundreds of face masks. But even that dried up when most of the pandemic restrictions were lifted last spring.
Now she is struggling to make ends meet and keep up with her commercial rental payments.
She began doing upholstery jobs last summer, and specializes in making outdoor seat cushions using whatever material the client provides her.
She can also make tailored clothing for men, women or children, either from a pattern or without one. And she can alter and repair almost any type of clothing, including replacing damaged zippers.
You can find Parwin Parie and Spic & Span Dry Cleaners in the Orléans Garden Shopping Centre at the corner of Jeanne d’Arc Blvd. North and Orléans Blvd.