Patricia L. Wallace
When Patricia L. Wallace began her career with Singer Sewing Machine Company in 1948, World War II was just getting over and the economy was beginning to boom. Pat was 16 years old at the time and when her father, a well-known paint contractor, met with Singer store manager, Ray Dutton, to submit a painting bid, he was impressed with Ray and his store.
Pat decided the Singer store was the place to work for a girl who could sew and applied for a position. The Singer Company was very strict about whom they employed, so Dutton went to Pat’s home to interview her. She became the youngest employee at the store and since store policy insisted that all employees, men and women, be trained on operating and servicing all machines, she was first trained on running the hemstitcher.
When she graduated to working the sales floor during lunch periods, she discovered that she loved the customer interaction. Pat worked at the South Saginaw Street location until it closed in 1970, and was then appointed manager of the Eastland Mall store by District Manager Larry French. In 1978, she moved to a store at the Genesee Valley Mall, and when Jo Ann Fabrics took over in 1982, she remained as the Singer sewing manager.
By 1989, Pat decided it was time to retire and related that decision to French during a visit to the Yorkshire Plaza store that he and his partner, Bonnie Weigand, owned. French gave Pat a tour of the store and asked her opinions on what she would change. After telling him it was perfect as it was, French insisted that she agree to manage the store.
Pat agreed and three days later was back working full-time and looking forward to her next 50 years selling her beloved Singer sewing machines.
French and his partner are generous with their praise of Pat Wallace and her professionalism and commitment to excellence.
2001 Vacuum & Sewing Hall of Fame Inductee