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Still Going Strong 94 Years in Reading

Story written by Sarah Doheny

Dec 04, 2019
Reading, Pa. – It’s  not often in today’s climate that you can find a Third generation business that has survived the tests of time while holding true to core values. Bruno Furs located at 132 North 5th Street survives today under the watchful eye of Dan and Victoria Sweeney, Victoria is the founders daughter.  It is truly a labor of family love, Victoria’s mother, Mary Bruno  worked at the store  until she was 92 years young as a Finisher . Victoria’s parents met at a mutual friends wedding then came together again when they were at that couples christening, they courted and ultimately married in 1926.   Walking into the backroom of Bruno’s is  where they say the “magic happens’ is a step back  in time with old sewing machines such as a cuppler , cutting tables and patterns dot the walls while a mannequin stands watch. For the lover of cut and sew that room is a dream and if you just stand and listen  for a minute or two, you hear the conversations and the whirling of sewing machines. Those days are treasured here at Bruno’s and the craftsmanship continues to this day.

Joseph Bruno born in Calabria, Italy came to the   United States  traveling alone at the age of 15  first arriving  in New York City at Ellis Island in 1912 where he lived and worked  with his older brother.   From New York Joseph traveled to Philadelphia then  eventually settling down in Reading ,Pa. Joseph found a job and apprenticed under the tutelage of Mr Dinni a locate tailor where he learn the art of ladies suiting, tailoring, coats and fur repairs then ultimately selling furs . Joseph then decided to strike  out on his own at the young age of 25 where he opened his first store located at 228 North 5th Street ,then moving  to 236  North 5th until the family purchased the store in the location where they are now at 132 North 5th since 1970 when Dan and Victoria took over the business

Bruno Furs still carries on the family tradition with expert craftsmanship, and values that Joseph and his wife Mary held near and dear. To this day when you walk into the store you will be greeted warmly by one of the “Dans’  or Joseph’s daughter Victoria. . They know their clientele names by heart, their children, grandchildren and revel  with stories of the Old Reading. Steering the business into the 21st Century has had its peaks and valleys like any retailer. Holding true to their values, providing expert craftsmanship along with customer service has allowed the business to thrive in a harsh retail climate.  Their leather dept can repair rips, install zippers and they also recolor by hand “weathered” coats  making them look brand new. With expanding lines in the store their fur department offers a variety of services besides repair, cleaning, their cold storage vault is climate control and they also take pride in their refurbishing and restyling  of older coats. You can even have your coat made into a warm fuzzy keepsake that can be handed down to family members and those cherished memories live on.

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