Kentucky Derby fashion a business boom for local tailor

COVID-19 has had its hands in the pockets of small business owners for the past two years. In 2022, things are looking back to normal.
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 2:23 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - ‘Twas the week before the Kentucky Derby and all through Alex Mazon’s house hang jackets, dresses, maybe even a blouse. The customers rush in with clothes that don’t quite align, hoping Mazon can fix them in time.

In St. Matthews, Mazon is the owner of Alex’s T.G. Alterations, which can be found near the intersection of Shelbyville Road and Hubbards Lane. Mazon has been a tailor for decades, and his hands have become memory foam around a sewing machine.

“This is my life,” Mazon said. “This is my first house.”

Mazon has been a fixture at his St. Matthews business for the last nine years, calling his shop his second home.

He’s been in the United States for 45 years, ever since a visit to Chicago from his home country of Mexico ended in an unexpected hospital stay.

“When I got here, I got so very sick,” Mazon said. “My gallbladder exploded and I was in the hospital for three months.”

When Mazon recovered, he said he decided to stay and make a life in the U.S. He went to work as a tailor to make ends meet, bouncing from Chicago to Indianapolis to Louisville, while earning himself quite the nickname.

“I’m the T.G.,” Mazon said. “Do you know what that means? T.G.? The Great!”

Mason said he scored the moniker while working in Indianapolis at Nordstrom.

“I was there and the employees in men’s suits called me (saying), ‘I want to see T.G., I want to see T.G.’” he explained. “Yeah, and I’m here.”

Mazon makes sure to live up to his reputation, especially when the calendar flips into spring and the Kentucky Derby approaches. During Derby Season, Alex The Great said he ramps up his workload by roughly 300%.

It’s why his shop is stuffed to the brim from April to May, living proof of the $400 million economic impact Louisville Tourism expects Kentucky Derby 148 to have on Louisville.

“God’s blessed me, trust me, every single day I have a lot of work all the time,” Mazon said. “But this time, oh my God, it’s crazy.”

For weeks, he’s spent hours in his sewing chair, eyes locked on the linens that desperately need work. His only distractions are last minute customers, on pins and needles to get their clothes fitted just right.

They hand over the fabrics, adding to his long waiting list, and watch Mazon sew them into perfection.

“I want to stay here,” Mazon said. “I want to stay here, and all my prayers, I say, ‘My Lord, when you take me, I want to die here by machine.’”

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