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FARMINGTON – The sharp decline in oil prices has led to numerous layoffs and business closures locally over the last year.

The latest casualty is a small downtown business, but not one that employs roughnecks or has big white trucks parked out front.

Maria Garcia, owner of GG's Boutique and Alterations on Main Street, has decided to close her store and seamstress business by the end of the month because her husband lost his oilfield job and became a long-distance trucker along Interstate 40.

To be closer to him, Garcia said moving to the Albuquerque area was her only choice.

"I hate to close, but my husband comes first, like I come first to him," Garcia said. "We want to be able to see each other, with what little time we have together."

Garcia had done her homework before she launched her business. She spent six months at the business incubator at San Juan College before opening her store and rolling out her website almost two years ago.

She said she got started sewing at age 9. One day, she was window shopping with her aunt, a seamstress, in El Paso, Texas, and lingered over a white dress with a big black bow in the middle. She appealed to her aunt to buy it for her but got something far more lasting.

"She said, 'Make it,'" Garcia said. "I went home and I said, 'I'm making it, then.'"

Now, at 63, she has been creating dresses, skirts, corsets, costumes, purses and hats, among many other articles of clothing and accessories, for the better part of 50 years.

In early November, Karen DiGiacomo came in to see Garcia's store with a friend. She struck up a conversation with Garcia, and before long, DiGiacomo found herself hired on, alongside four other seamstresses, to handle alterations projects with Garcia.

"It just fell into place. I've looked at it as a great classroom experience," DiGiacomo said of her part-time work under Garcia's tutelage. "She gave me the confidence to take on alterations at home."

When she's not altering dresses, DiGiacomo, a 49-year-old grandmother of three, goes by the roller derby handle "LBCAKE" — a nod to her favorite Van Halen song — and straps on skates as a member of the Animas Roller Girls.

DiGiacomo said she will take on many of Garcia's clients at her sewing and alterations business, Karen's Alterations and Krafts, on Feb. 1. She hopes to sell some of her roller derby-theme creations, like voodoo dolls in roller derby outfits and cloth roller skate ornaments with buttons for wheels. She also makes and plans to sell derby uniforms and "booty" shorts, she said.

"I’m not going leave my customers without a seamstress," Garcia said.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621.

 

More info

What: GG's Boutique and Alterations

Where: 204 W. Main St. in Farmington

Hours: 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday

More info: Call 505-278-8940 or go to ggsdesignsalterationsandmore.com

 

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