SAGINAW TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Though there's a sewing machine right in front of him, tailor Martin Hojsak's is giving some stitches personal attention.
Hojsak's hands deftly perform the precise work, just as they have for the past 50 years as a tailor at Edward's Men's Shop in Saginaw Township.
"I must have put in millions of stitches," said Hojsak, with his Polish accent.
Martin Hojsak recently celebrated 50 years as a tailor at Edward's Men's Shop in Saginaw Township. (AP photo)
Hojsak, pronounced "Hoi-zak," emigrated with his family to the United States as a child to escape Cold War-era Poland. Today he lives in Bay City. He began working as a tailor, a trade he learned from his family, when he was 18 years old.
At 23, Hojsak started working for a man named Edward Silk, the original owner of Edward's Men's Shop, in downtown Saginaw.
Over the years, Edward's expanded and contracted as a business, but Hojsak was there all the while.
Now, 50 years and many fashion trends later, Hojsak works for Edward's sons, Jim and Gary Silk.
"He's the best tailor in the state of Michigan," Gary Silk said.
Meticulous work is something Hojsak prides himself on. His fingers are still nimble and he's blessed to have kept arthritis at bay, leaving him to focus on the job at hand.
"I'm pretty fussy," he said as he pressed the inside seam of a jacket. "If I don't like it, the customer is not going to like it."
Though he considers himself retired, Hojsak is still on the job three days a week, perfecting lapels, hems and sleeves for business suits, wedding attire, and everything in between.
"When someone is very particular, we call Martin out," said Tim Wideman, who also works at Edward's. "And I bet he hasn't called in sick once since he started working."
Hojsak thought about that statement for a minute and finally agreed.
"I like the job," Hojsak said. "It makes me feel happy when the customer is satisfied."