Gem City Style: Louis Geramita of Primo Tailoring
A Q&A with Louis A. Geramita
Irecently caught up with Louis Geramita, owner of Primo Tailoring in The Shops at Fifth and State. An honoree of our most recent class of Erie's 40 Under 40, he is without question one of the preeminent ambassadors of Gem City Style.
Jessica Hunter (JH): For those who don't know, please tell us about Primo Tailoring.
Louis Geramita (LG): At face value, Primo is a proper men's clothing store covering just about anything a guy might need, from custom-made pieces to simple alteration. It's been long overdue for Erie to have a place that sells top-notch clothing and Primo is here to fill that need. On a deeper level Primo is an understanding that the details matter, breaking rules is necessary, and things done well last longer and only need to be done once. These are beliefs that should be applied as a way of life in all areas.
JH: Can you share the experience behind your mission and why you started your tailoring business?
LG: We started for two main reasons: First, there was a need and we wanted to fill it. Even now to get the services and products we offer, it's a minimum two-hour drive and that's simply not acceptable. Second, helping be a part of making Erie a place that is recognized for its fashion community seemed like a worthwhile mission. Erie is an interesting place in general but when it comes to fashion it's like another animal. The strategy in executing our mission has been education and community based. Without those two things, you can't make it while keeping your style integrity in this town.
JH: Your shop has such a vibe! Explain your style and how it sets you apart from other businesses. Do you offer any special or unique services?
LG: A good outfit isn't so much about the physical items you wear and pick out, it's what your look conveys to others about yourself, your day, and how you view the world. It's truly a second language. So to us the "vibe" is everything, and that translates to our store image as well. We live in a time when we have access to everything at our fingertips, so as a business, the key difference between you and everyone else is your vibe/brand. So making that vibe something people personally connect with is a must. Our services are extensive and one-of-a-kind for Erie, offering top-notch men and women's alterations, custom made clothing, retail items from socks, and shoes to winter jackets, and shoe shining services. We've truly become a one-stop shop!
JH: On Small Business Saturday your shop on State Street celebrated its first anniversary. What were some of the challenges and pitfalls you faced? What were your best achievements and successes?
LG: Since starting the business back in 2020 we were constantly faced with challenges, but the beautiful thing about starting when we did is that we had to take an alternative approach, not just copy and paste. I believe that really helped develop our business strategy. We are very proud of getting a retail space opened only a year after starting the business from nothing, and still being here and going strong! We have an incredible team at the shop. Honestly, without the amazing skills Olivia, Julmarie, Barbie, and Dill bring to the table, we couldn't have this amount of growth. Seeing our business up in excess of 300 percent is just mind blowing; we're so proud that we have been able to be a part of styling so many people in the community.
JH: What do you see for the future of your business and fashion in Erie?
LG: Our ultimate goal for the brand is to take it to a national scale, and become known as a household fashion brand. We are progressing this vision on multiple fronts, most notably by building an online presence that is focused on brand awareness. We're also bringing on sales staff that reach to different states, as well as developing a U.S.-based textile manufacturing plant for our products. With these steps we're confident that we will see this goal as a reality in a relatively short amount of time. As for the Erie fashion scene, we have a long way to go, but we have some really cool people advancing it.
Primo Tailoring is located at 421 State St. and open from Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. // For more info: primotailoring.com
Jessica Hunter can be found at jessicahunterphotos.com