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North Vancouver’s iconic Roman Tailor still sewing after 5 decades in business

Click to play video: 'This is BC: Italian-born tailor still going strong at 78' This is BC: Italian-born tailor still going strong at 78
An Italian-born tailor is still in business and going strong at the age of 78. For 5 decades now he's built up a loyal following in North Vancouver. And as Jay Durant tells us in This is BC, many have become more than just customers. – Feb 3, 2022

On first glance, Guiseppe Dente’s workshop looks like a laundromat exploded.

Amongst the racks of suits and mounds of clothes you’ll find the 78-year-old tailor still doing the job he loves after more than 50 years on the North Shore.

“So far everything work out alright,” Dente told Global’s This is BC.

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Business has slowed a bit over the years but the calls keep coming in. There’s been no advertising, no website. It’s his reputation and word of mouth that has built the business.

Anyone walking into his shop on Pemberton Avenue in North Vancouver would wonder how anybody could find anything in here. But Giuseppe has his own filing system.

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“When they bring it in, roughly I try to remember where I put it you know,” he explained.

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Many customers have become close friends.

“He’s a legend,” said one gentleman who dropped in for a coffee. It doesn’t take long for his other guest to join in, adding, “You are a legend, Giuseppe.”

Drop off a suit and stay for a visit, just like they did in Italy.

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“Some people go to the tailor, you know, do a little shot, have some talking. That’s the way I try to do it here, too,” Dente explained.

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Dente learned his master tailoring skills near Naples and Milan and in Rome.

He opened his shop in West Vancouver in 1971. It was destroyed in a fire in 2011, but four months later he was back in business.

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He’s had many well-known customers over the years, including Vancouver soccer legend Bob Lenarduzzi, who’s been taking his clothes to Dente since 1981.

“Jimmy Pattison, Pat Quinn when he was alive, and there are a lot of others,” Lenarduzzi said.  “I think that’s also something that adds to his mystique as well.”

“What keeps me coming back is Giuseppe,” former Canucks defenceman Dennis Kearns, another longtime customer, explained.

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“He’s a wonderful person and he’s an artist.”

After more than half a century Dente is still crafting clothes.

“Time goes so fast,” he said.

His old sewing machine may not be buzzing quite as much these days, but as Dente says, as long as he can see, he’ll keep sewing.

“I come here, I enjoy,” Dente said.

“I have a good time to be here and I never know anything else to do.”

To contact Jay Durant with a story idea for This is BC, email him details and contact information at thisisbc@globalnews.ca

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