Saltsman Cleaners shutting their doors after 45 years of service

Arturo Mollame and his wife Pat took over Saltsman Cleaners on Ainslie Street in Galt in 1976

Arturo Mollame’s roots as a tailor stretch over 70 years and span around the globe.

Born in Italy, Mollame moved to Argentina when he was 10 years old. Upon arriving, he was his father who guided him into the trade.

“In 1950 when we moved to Argentina my dad told me I wasn’t going to just play in the streets,” Mollame said.

“He said ‘after school you’re going to apprentice at the tailor shop’.”

It was there that Mollame found a passion for sewing.

Then, at the age of 27 he made what was suppose to be just a trip to Canada. During the trip he was introduced to his future wife and after deciding to settle down, he took his passion for sewing and slowly turned it into a business of his own in Cambridge.

“I’m a tailor by trade,” Mollame said.

“I was in Argentina for 17 years and learned at a tailor’s shop there. I came to Canada in 1967 and never left. I arrived in August and by November I started working at Mandel’s Cleaners across from the armories.”

In 1976, Arturo and his wife Pat met with former Cambridge MP Max Saltsman and his brother Harry, the original owners of Saltsman Cleaners. It was an encounter that would change the course of his life.

“I approached Max and asked if he wanted to sell the business,” Mollame said.

“He said he did and I bought it for $25,000.”

While Mollame will no longer be making the trek into work each day, he still plans on folding his trade.

“There’s not a lot of money in it anymore but I’ll be working from home,” he said.

“I’ll take the equipment and try to find some customers.”

Arturo and his wife haven’t been the only driving forces behind the business over the years. Their son Tony has worked there since 1993. When he first started, he didn’t think it would turn into a 30 year career.

“I think initially, starting off, I wasn’t planning on making a career of it,” he said.

“I had just finished school and was kind of in-between looking for a job. My dad mentioned my mom could use some help and little by little I faded into it.”

All these years later Tony admits it’s tough to be closing the doors.

“It’s sad,” he said.

“It’s part of my life. Watching people get older and serving them, then serving their kids, I like that part.”

Even though the time has come to turn off the lights for good, they’ll never forget the people in the community that supported them along the way.

“I want to thank them for their patronage,” Tony said.

“Thank you for being loyal to us all these years.”

Saltsman Cleaners will close their doors on Jan. 16, 2023.

Leave a Comment