Richard DePasquale’s shop, Moorestown Tailors, has sat quietly on Main Street since 1990.
The tailor has witnessed nearly three decades of Moorestown history, and in August, he’ll say goodbye to his home away from home as he gives up his Main Street location and embarks on a new chapter.
DePasquale has more than 50 years’ experience in tailoring. But before he became a fixture in Moorestown, he was just a young boy of 15 whose mother told him to go out and find a job. So he did, working at a tailor shop and haberdashery in Camden.
DePasquale spent his days there cleaning, but eventually his boss asked him if he’d like to learn a thing or two about tailoring. He admits at 15, he didn’t have any great passion for the profession, but was happy to learn a few things from his boss.
DePasquale continued working at the shop for a few years before moving on to another tailor in the area who did men’s custom tailoring. But in 1966, he was drafted, and served in Vietnam as a medic.
DePasquale returned home in 1968 and decided to head west. His sister was living in San Jose, California, so he packed up his car and followed her there in search of a job. DePasquale did some tailoring work, but ultimately decided he missed his family and the sense of familiarity that New Jersey offered.
When he returned to the East Coast, DePasquale worked at a few local cleaners and lived in Delran. When a new shopping center opened there in the ‘80s, he saw an opportunity to strike out on his own and ran a shop exclusively for tailoring. By 1986, DePasquale had moved to a new store in the same plaza and opened up a fully-operating dry cleaner with tailoring services.
Not long after, he moved his shop to Moorestown and opened Moorestown Tailors in 1990. DePasquale said the community, where he lives with his wife, Pamela Metz-DePasquale, has always treated him well.
He attributes the longevity of his business to one guiding principle: taking care of his customers’ needs and giving them back a product they’re happy with. The tailor said working on people’s clothing is a personal experience for customers, so when they come back and tell him he did a great job, that’s especially meaningful.
“With any business, if people aren’t happy with the service, they’re not going to come see you,” DePasquale noted. “In a small town, if you’re not doing a good job, it’s going to get around pretty fast.”
Throughout the years, DePasquale has worked six days a week at the shop and the pieces he’s tailored have run the gamut. He chuckled when he said that just the other day, he was working on a Santa suit for someone.
The most satisfying part has been the connections DePasquale has forged with people. The 73-year-old said during a time when everything is going online and people are losing in-person connections, there’s been a real satisfaction in getting to know the people who walk through his doors. In his 30 years, he’s watched young people who came in with their parents return as parents themselves.
As an Evangelical Christian, DePasquale has also taken great pride in his shop being a place where people can feel comforted. He’s used it as a means of ministry and prayed with people who are hurting and talked with people about their faith.
DePasquale had been thinking about retiring for a few years, but COVID-19 put things in perspective. Like many people, he thought about his future and decided now was the time to make a change.
By the end of August, DePasquale’s lease will be up and he’ll have cleared out his shop. He doesn’t plan on fully retiring (he’s calling this next chapter “semi-retirement’) and he’s working on converting his basement into a smaller version of his shop, where he’ll do a bit of tailoring for local businesses.
So while the sign for Moorestown Tailors that’s hung on Main Street for the last three decades may come down, the man behind its story isn’t fully sewn up just yet.
To learn more about Moorestown Tailors, visit http://www.moorestowntailors.com.