1995 – Inside East Sacramento
A bright blue banner sprouting spring flowers and the word “ALTERATIONS” flaps merrily above the Old Country Tailor at the corner of Folsom Boulevard and 52nd Street. Nestled between Mad Dog Bakery and Johnny’s Barber Shop, this new shop in East Sacramento greets the customer with a rare old world craft and provincial charm. Each morning, the owner, Vera Samusenko, opens her door wide to hang her cheery banner in the breeze and to welcome in the sunshine—perhaps not of a rainy spring—but of the American way of life as lived in East Sacramento. An immigrant from Russia, Vera Samusenko came to this country four years ago with the dream of a life better than that of her desperately impoverished and oppressed homeland. But unlike many others, she came to this country willing to work for her dreams. Vera and her husband knew no English when they arrived in New York and needed welfare to provide for their three young children…
1995 – The Business Journal
Vera Samusenko once sewed 700 children’s dresses in a 10-day stretch. When a job pays only about $5 per dress and that’s your family’s only source of income, you go for speed and volume. “But I was sewing from early morning until maybe 11 late at night, without a break,” she says. “I was working at home all day and I started thinking, ‘I have to do something, because I can’t live all the time like this.’ “
1995 – Parents’ Monthly
In April 1995, Parents’ Monthly ran a cover featuring children in their Easter best. The children on the cover (left to right) are wearing outfits from the following stores:
- Bunny Patch
- Old Country Tailor
- Bossanova Baby (sitting)
- Kid’s Bargain Outlet
- Colors and Seasons
Cover photo: Jensen Photography. Models: Cast Images. Design: Kevin Rebelo.
2005 – Sacramento Business Journal
Vera Samusenko has been running her East Sacramento storefront, Old Country Tailor, for 10 years, becoming a fixture in the neighborhood and a street-level example of the American dream. From humble beginnings, Samusenko has grown revenue at her seamstress shop 1,300 percent. Samusenko emigrated to Sacramento 15 years ago with her husband and three small children from the Russian town of Apsheronsk, which sits on th Pshekha River on the northwestern slopes of the Caucasus Mountains. She had learned to sew from her cousins, and in Apsheronsk had to go through a hard-fought six-month effort just to get government permits needed to legally sew for a living. For three years, “I sewed at home and sold clothes—women’s coats and pants—on Saturdays,” said Samusenko, taking a rare break from a steady stream of customers in her store. Her husband’s uncle had immigrated to Sacramento, and in 1990, she, her husband and kids decided to follow his lead. When she got here, she found life was tough. She didn’t know English and when she saw all the clothes for sale in all the department stores in Sacramento, she was sure there wasn’t a market for a seamstress. With encouragement from a friend and with her own perseverance, Samusenko methodically worked toward opening her seamstress business…
2010 – Inside East Sacramento
On March 4, Old Country Tailor celebrated its 15th anniversary. The shop is owned by Vera Samusenko, who was a newly arrived immigrant from Russia when she opened the store. In 1995, Samusenko was doing piecemeal work in her West Sacramento home to support her three small children, unemployed husband and parents. With the help of friends, she opened her store on Folsom Boulevard.
“For any small business to not only survive but flourish through a roller-coaster economic decade is praise enough. But what makes Vera’s story so remarkable is how unlikely it is,” said East Sacramento resident Ann Neumann. Samusenko credits her success to the wonderful clients in the East Sacramento area. She also says that it is a “testament to the opportunity possible in America.” The shop celebrated the anniversary with a party for customers and friends. Old Country Tailor is at 5136 Folsom Boulevard. For more information, call 731-8097.