SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — While masks have become a contentious subject for many, one Sioux Falls business owner says masks saved their business and their family during this pandemic.
“We do approximately 200 wedding dresses a year, and on top of that, we do bridesmaid dresses, hundreds of them,” Owner Paul Soroka said.
Wedding season is back in full swing at Olga’s Tailoring and Alterations, creating a lot of work for the immigrant couple running the business.
“We work pretty much 14 hours every single day and then Saturday, Sunday we do six to eight hours, so we just do stop-less work, work, work,” Soroka said.
It’s been that way since they started their Sioux Falls business in 2005, but this year everything changed.
“Before March we were booked all the way till the end of summer for wedding dresses and starting the second or third of March we got phone calls and phone calls that everything was cancelled,” Soroka said.
Their usually filled racks were empty with no work for weeks.
“It was a little stressful for me and my wife, not getting any work, still having to pay so much for everything to keep running,” Soroka said. “On top of that, my parents both got COVID working in Smithfield at the beginning of March. I remember those nights laying in bed thinking, maybe this is it?”
But Soroka says right after filling out unemployment paperwork with the state, the family got the phone call that put them back in business.
“We had a lady from the hospital, one of our big hospitals, she called first and then she came and she placed an order for specific masks she liked the most, which hospitals can not provide, with the filters inside and everything,” Soroka said.
The whole family spent the last weekend in March sewing masks.
“We were working at least 16 hours those two days, we did couple hundred masks, we posted on Facebook and then we had so many people waiting in the parking lot till we made masks for them,” Soroka said.
“We are using 100 percent cotton, double-layered as they’re supposed to be, 450 thread count so they’re really thick and safe,” seamstress Olga Soroka said.
Thanks to these unique, well-made masks, they’re once again seeing a boom in back-to-school business.
“College students, some going back to classrooms they’re required to wear masks, so we’ve seen a few students here the last couple of days,” Paul Soroka said.
The Soroka family credits their masks for keeping them in business and off of unemployment.
“We survived on masks,” Olga Soroka said.
Now they’re grateful to see their usual business returning.
“We’ve a fully recovered business, running full speed working again 14 to 16 hours, doing our favorite job, what we usually do–suits and dresses,” Soroka said.
Olga’s Tailoring and Alteration are still filling orders for their locally made masks every day; you can reach them on their Facebook page or by calling their office at 605-332-1900.