For the last 46 years in Great Neck Plaza, John Cinciripini’s small office has been one of sewing machines, materials, tags, and customers he could call friends.
But now Cinciripini, 83, said he is retiring after several decades as a professional tailor.
“I always liked I was very happy to come to work every morning,” Cinciripini, the longtime owner of Cinciripini Tailors at 1 Grace Ave, said in an interview. “And I had a very good relationship with my customers.”
Cinciripini’s journey to Great Neck began in Italy, where he grew up. Schooling was only mandatory until 12 years old at the time, he said, and the parents could “decide what to do with you.”
“So my parents decided to put me to work as an apprentice with a tailor and this was while I was 12 years old,” Cinciripini said. “And this is what I’ve been doing since I was 12 years old. I never stopped.”
Cinciripini said he worked in a shop in Hempstead for a couple of years. But when the store was about to close, he said he thought of opening his own shop. Then a colleague who once lived in Great Neck suggested he check out the area.
After seeing a “for rent” sign with a phone number on 1 Grace Avenue, he quickly called the number and said he was ready to “take it now.”
“I said to myself: this is a perfect location,” Cinciripini said of the location on the corner of Canterbury Road and Grace Avenue. “I liked the spot right away.”
Cinciripini said he was “a little scared” in the beginning because he had a family and children. But the store went on to be very successful, he said, starting in the very first week.
“I like to come to work, I like to do my work,” Cinciripini said. “I don’t find this stressful at all.”
Cinciripini said that while he believed he could have continued to tailor for a few more years, his wife and children had been suggesting he retire and be able to spend more time with them.
“It’s a happy and sad situation,” Cinciripini said. “It’s not easy after 50 years of doing this.”
Cinciripini said he plans to continue living in Franklin Square. But with two daughters and a son – Grace, a pediatric ophthalmologist, Denise, a general practitioner, and Daniel, a mechanic – and two grandchildren in Seattle, Washington, he said he “may be planning on doing some traveling.”
His third daughter, Nancy, predeceased him on July 5.
Cinciripini also highlighted the work of Paola, his wife, who played a key part in raising the family as he worked in the shop.
“My wife, she put up for this, because I worked really hard for 50 years and sometimes I didn’t pay too much attention [to] what was going on at home,” Cinciripini said. “Basically, she’s the one who raised the family anywhere.”
Ultimately Cinciripini said he wanted to thank the Great Neck community for supporting him and his business.
“I want to tell them I’m very grateful they allowed me to make a living [and] to raise my family,” Cinciripini, who has received a number of “thank you” cards, said. “I’m very grateful to them.”