Uniform business owners worried about Westover cuts

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – For more than 55 years, Sentry Uniforms has been selling police and military uniforms, just down the road from Westover Air Reserve Base.

With so much of their business connected with people at the base, the owners are concerned that a Pentagon plan to move half the base’s fleet of C-5 aircraft out of town will hurt them.

The family-owned business has depended on Westover personnel to buy the chevrons and function badges and other items worn on military uniforms. It’s about 20 percent of Sentry’s business.

Owner Eileen Pare told 22News that she is saddened by the possible loss of planes and personnel.

“I don’t want to see it happen, I hope It doesn’t happen,” Pare said. “I will certainly have to let a lot of our merchandise go down, If I’m not selling It, why would I stock it? I would be very sad to see It happen.”

Eileen’s son Kyle told 22News, he has gotten to personally know many of the C-5 maintenance workers whose jobs are on the line.

“I think that would be kind of upsetting to see a lot of these people not coming in here, I know on a first name basis. I just think It would be sad not to see some of these people,” he said.

Veterans also make up part of Sentry Uniform’s business; customers like Steven Menard, retired from the 82nd Airborne Special Forces, who shops here for sentimental reasons.

“It reminds me of the camaraderie that all the military people have, and here, you can find things you can’t find anyplace else,” Menard said. “And living in western Massachusetts, everyone appreciates the military. That’s what I love.”

Menard and the Pares hope the Pentagon eventually will change its mind, and leave the Westover planes and personnel intact.

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