A longtime Bradford tailor will be closing his doors to his shop this week.
However, Ben Nuzzo said he’s not completely hanging up his thread and needle. He said he will be “semi-retired,” as he plans to do some alterations from his home.
His shop was located in the historic Thrifty Cleaners building at 18 Chambers St.
Born in Italy, Nuzzo began learning two trades there around the age of 9 or 10 — carpentry work and tailoring.
He explained that his mother was born in the United States, but she was living in Italy when he was born.
“During the war at the time, America called all their citizens back to the United States,” he said. But his mother didn’t come back at that time.
“We talked to mom to come back here,” he said, and she did. It was around 1952-53 when Nuzzo came to the United States at age 18, and he became a U.S. citizen.
He and his brother had a drycleaning and tailor shop on West Washington Street before they bought the shop at 18 Chambers St. in 1984. There, they continued to offer drycleaning and tailoring, and Nuzzo continued doing tailoring there until this year.
He also utilized his carpentry skills in Bradford.
“I worked for most of the contractors in town here,” he said, notably for Carl A. Swanson, which Nuzzo worked with for a long time until he and his brother bought Thrifty Cleaners.
He continued with carpentry until “it got so I couldn’t give 100%.”
After nearly 40 years at the spot, his son had a chance to sell the building.
“I’m 85 years old, so it’s time for me to retire,” Nuzzo said. He noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and a recent motor vehicle accident involving the building posed additional challenges.
Nuzzo said he has plenty to keep him busy.
“I have a lot of things to do around the house,” he explained. Also, “There’s still (tailoring) work to do, if people keep me busy. Otherwise, I have a fishing pole ready to go fishing.”
He plans to keep doing alterations for Man’s World — work he’s been doing for 40 years.
Man’s World is another business with a long history in downtown Bradford. Man’s World opened nearly 50 years ago.
One of the big things Nuzzo will miss at his shop are the people.
“I did enjoy talking to people and seeing people. That kept my mind sharp,” he explained.
While Nuzzo isn’t sure if there are any other tailors in Bradford now, he noted, “Not too many people do this type of work.”
He said it’s not easy to make a living that way. That may be, but it is something that he has enjoyed.
When asked if he had a preference for carpentry or tailoring, he said, “I love both.”