7131 W. Greenfield Ave.
Neighborhood: West Allis
Owners: William Blenkinsop
Service: Sewing machine repair and tune-ups
How long have you had your store?
“I’ve been in business for 35 years, but I worked out of Hancock, which was originally Minnesota Fabrics. I traveled all across the state and worked out of a different store every day. About 10 years ago, they started shrinking and filed Chapter 11. I saw the handwriting on the wall and opened a little shop on this street. I’ve been in this particular location for two years.”
How many sewing machines do you typically repair a month?
“Well, it depends on the month, but I would say we are averaging probably 15 a week. Could be better. I used to do 15 a day. Not as many people are using sewing machines as they were back in the heyday, but it’s not that bad.”
I don’t imagine there are a lot of people with your skillset. Do you repair machines from all over the region?
“On this block, there are two of us. Across the street there is (Milwaukee Sewing Machine Co., 7226 W Greenfield Ave.). They sell sewing machines, they do industrial machines. I don’t sell and I don’t do industrial machines; I am strictly domestic.”
How do you see the future of the business?
“I’m 62. It will support me until I’m 70, that’s for sure. Then I’m done. No one else wants it.”
How have sewing machines changed over the years?
“Machines are more sophisticated now because they have computers inside of them. But the basic repair, cleaning and adjusting is the same.