Leaning over a sewing machine inside his tiny Yorkville shop, Mike Mouradian is continuing his family’s legacy.
“When you’ve lost everything else, you will become very strong,” he says.
The 27 year old is originally from Syria and he comes from a family of suit makers.
“My dad he teach me,” he said. “Then I start to make jackets when I was 15 years old from scratch.”
For nearly 70 years his family has owned a store in Aleppo fashion district. His family history in the suit business began after his great grandfather fled the Armenia genocide.
Coming to Syria he began making suits in 1922. From there, the business was passed on to Mike’s grandfather, and then his father. Mike grew up in the store. They had manufacturing, and exported suits all over the world – right up until war broke out in 2012.
“The area we used to live, the ISIS take that area,” Mouradian said.
Their manufacturing facility was damaged by bombing, with ISIS forcing them out.
“(ISIS) take everything else. They stole everything else,” he says.
Once again his family was forced to flee, coming to Canada in 2016. Mouradian starting looking for a place to start again. Back in Syria, the family store had been located on one of the most famous streets. Mouradian wanted to find the right place in Toronto. One Sunday afternoon, he found Yorkville and was immediately taken.
“It was one of my dreams. When I first time I came to Yorkville. I said to myself, one day I’m going to open a shop here,” he said.
Seeing high end stores like Chanel and Versace motivated him. In 2018, Mouardian bought a small shop on Yorkville Boulevard and opened ‘Last Minute Alteration, Tailoring and Dry Cleaning.’ His dream had come true.
The shop is a tiny space. About 30 feet long and 10 feet wide. Clothing hangs on two racks with a sewing machine located on either side. There are pictures of each generation of the Mouradian family looking over him. Mouradian will often work with a pair of scissors first used by his great grandfathers almost a hundred years ago.
As he holds the scissors, Mouradian says, “this is like an amazing memory from him to me.”
Mouradian will at times work 16 or 17 hour days. He has become a Canadian citizen and says that this place feels like home. Now he is focused on growing his business to one day create his own custom suit store.
He says that it is all part of the work ethic he was taught.
“(Set) a goal, and then work on it, work very hard and then you will have everything else you are asking for.”