CHULA VISTA, Calif. (CBS 8) - For 34 years, Gilbert Murray's shop on Third Avenue in Chula Vista has been bobbing and weaving, rebuilding and collecting -- lots of collecting.
His shelves are filled with refurbished classics straight from grandma's sewing room, restored to museum quality.
"They still work. These are working machines," Gilbert said.
Bringing them back to life is Gilbert's passion.
"Oh man, those were such nice machines. Keep them, don't throw them away. Don't get a plastic one, fix those old ones," he said.
What makes the oldies such goodies?
They used real metal, they didn't use plastic. They used bearings, not bushings," Gilbert explained.
At Sewing Emporium, their bone yard is crammed full of models from every era to use as spare parts for the next project. Out on the floor, there are plenty of examples of Sewing Emporium's handiwork.
"These guys were $68 when they were brand new about 40 years ago. They made these from 1929 through 1968," Murray said.
The demand for machines declined after sewing was no longer taught in schools. These days it's quilters who do most of the stitching. In some cases, the wood is worth more than the sewing machine.
"We have what's rare now. It's the cabinet, not the machine. The machines are $10 a piece. Those cabinets are hundreds and thousands of dollars a piece," Murray said.
In Chula Vista, Gilbert Murray is reaping the benefits of those who still sew.
Sewing Emporium1079-B Third AvenueChula Vista, CA 91911(619) 420-3490