New Brunswick

Syrian newcomer builds on success with move to downtown Fredericton

A Syrian newcomer who moved to Fredericton in 2016 has expanded his small business to a downtown storefront.

Even business rivals celebrate as Ahmed Hallak moves his tailoring business into downtown storefront

Ahmed Hallak started his clothing alteration business in Fredericton shortly after moving here in 2016. (Gary Moore/CBC)

A Syrian newcomer to Fredericton with a flair for tailoring is expanding the alteration business he started when he arrived in the province in 2016.

Ahmed Hallak opened his alteration business, Ahmed Designs, two years ago in a office without a storefront in the uptown area of Fredericton.   

Hallak spent 20 years working in the industry, including working for his family business in Syria. 

"Working for alteration and making suits, everything," he said, adding it's "in his blood."

Hallak said he's had a good customer base in Fredericton since he started the alteration business, but he wanted to expand. 

He officially opened his downtown store Saturday, where he sells men's and women's clothing and offers custom tailoring.  

Despite being in competition with one another, Jeff Alpaugh was eager to help Ahmed Hallak promote his new store. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Anyone walking past the new store can see Hallak behind a sewing machine, making alterations to suits and dresses. 

"This is good with me [for] business," he said Saturday at his new location.

Even without a storefront, Hallak's skills have been noticed by people in the industry — including competing businesses. 

Jeff Alpaugh has a custom clothing store in Fredericton and often hires Hallak to do alterations for him.

And despite Hallak's new shop being competition for him, he's been endorsing the new downtown business.

"I just found his work to be incredibly high standard, very good quality, very fast, effective, efficient," Alpaugh said, whose business is located a few blocks away from Ahmed Designs. 

Ahmed Hallak helps fit new customer Paul Greene with a suit. (Gary Moore/CBC)

Alpaugh even helped spread the word on Facebook about the new store.

"Everybody wants to help people who are helping themselves," Alpaugh said, praising Hallak's desire to expand his business.

And, Alpaugh's online promotion helped bring new customers for Hallak this week. 

Paul Greene heard about Ahmed Designs because of Alpaugh's ringing endorsement online, and stopped by to purchase a new suit during the grand opening Saturday.

"Simply, he knew his stuff. When I put the suit on, he knew I need to tweak it this way, tweak it that way," Greene said.


Gary Moore

CBC News

Gary Moore is a video journalist based in Fredericton.