Alterations By Sarah opens in Lawrence

WICHITA — Samir Arif wasn’t yet born when his parents first started Alterations By Sarah in 1982, but now he and his wife are opening a branch of the Wichita company in Lawrence with plans to one day take over the entire business.

“It was always sort of something we thought about doing, spreading the business into other parts of Kansas,” Samir Arif says.

His parents opened locations in Oklahoma City in the 1990s but then sold them.

His father has six of the shops in Wichita still.

His mother, Sarah Lockwood — the shop’s original Sarah — is now divorced from his father and is out of the business.

“It’s kind of funny because my wife’s name is also Sara, without the ‘h,’” Arif says.

He is former deputy director of communications for the governor, and Sara Arif is the former director of public affairs for the state Department on Aging.

Their shop is at Sixth Street and Wakarusa on the west side of Lawrence. Samir Arif says even just a couple of years ago, that area was considered rural.

“The last couple of years, there’s just been an explosion of new development,” he says. “We’re pretty hopeful.”

He and his wife, who are having what he calls a gradual store opening this week, haven’t decided where they’ll open next.

“At this point, we haven’t really made any plans going forward,” he says. “It’s just a matter of getting this one up and going.”

Arif says he’s happy to be following in the footsteps of his parents, who immigrated from India.

“They’re really very much the story of the American dream,” he says. “I’m just very much looking forward to carrying on the tradition.”