I recently brought in a couple of old suits that needed repairs to Antoine’s Tailor Shop on Congress Street in Portland. It was quiet Saturday afternoon and as I stood in front of the mirror Mr. Maalouf quietly broke the bad news: “I’m thinking I won’t be here much too long maybe December, I’m gonna retire.”
It was a punch to the gut — what? I stood quietly for a moment selfishly thinking, You can’t do that. What will I do? But all I could muster was, “Really, why?”
Mr. Maalouf laughed, and said, “I’ve been a tailor for many years, I’m getting tired.”
In fact, John Maalouf has been a craftsman for 54 years. Since 1983, he has been working nearly six days a week in his little tailor shop on Congress Street. His customers come to Portland from surrounding towns such as Scarborough, Yarmouth and Falmouth, and some of them have been coming to him for 35 plus years.
My First Visit
The first time I entered Antoine’s Tailor Shop was way back in 1993. I had recently moved Portland from Washington, DC and I needed a suit altered. As I stood on Mr. Maalouf’s wooden fitting riser, he casually asked what I needed to be altered? I explained that the suit pants I had on were a little snug, and I wanted to know if he could let out the waist?
Mr Maalouf pulled the waist, adjusted them on my hips and said, “Lose some weight!”
I stood for a moment not quite believing what he had just said, when he re-stated it, “Lose some weight and it fits,” then he promptly walked away from the riser and stood behind his counter.
That was it. Lose some weight and it fits! It was at that moment I knew Mr. Maalouf was my tailor, and I’ve continued to use Antoine’s Taylor Shop since then never being disappointed.
Mr. Maalouf is a master craftsman, and part of Congress Street’s fabric. I wish him well and understand it’s time for him to hang up his needle and thimble, but he will be missed by many.
If anyone knows a good tailor, let me know.
**Mr. Maalouf is interested in selling his business before his retirement. If you or anyone you know is interested in purchasing his business, please contact Mr. Maalouf at (207) 774-8408.