Sewing dreams into reality

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By Tris DeRoma

Cruiser’s Custom Embroidery may have just opened up a shop on Trinity Drive in August, but the store’s owner has been embroidering for much longer than that.
Mike Luna actually started his business about 10 years ago, working from home. At the time, Luna sold his restaurant, Home Run Pizza, and was looking for something else to do. As the president of the Atomic City Corvettes car club, Luna realized that the companies that did the embroidering on their jackets and clothing weren’t quite cutting it.
The rest is history.
“I’ll buy my own doggone machine and I’m just going to play,” he said, thinking it was just going to be a hobby to help out his fellow club members and nothing more. But his friends kept calling for him to do more work and his business grew.
Luna has grown proficient with his sewing machine, he can take any idea and make a logo or a design out of it and put it on anything, whether it’s cloth, leather, or anything in between.
Luna still works by himself, and loves to work with customers one-on-one. A lot of amazing ideas have passed through the needle of his machine through the years, and he can wait to see what’s next.
“One thing I love to do is find somebody has good ideas,” Luna said. “With the machine and software I have, if you can imagine it, put it down on paper, get it to me, it can be embroidered.”
No design is too intricate or complicated, he said.
“If I can fit it into my machine, I can embroider it,” Luna said.
But, if a customer doesn’t know where to start, he can help with that, too, even if the budget is small. Luna said he understands that though all businesses may not have a lot of money, they all want to look sharp.
“With small businesses, I always give them a break, because I know it may not necessarily be in their budget. But, a logo on your shirt does your advertising when you’re walking around town.
“It started off as a hobby and next thing I know somebody comes over and says, ‘Mike can you do a shirt? Come on. Mike, can you do 10 shirts?’.... Next thing I know I’m doing 100 shirts and I have to go get a business license,” Luna said.
Need an order tomorrow? Luna said he can accommodate.
According to Luna, the “custom” in his business name just doesn’t apply to design.
“We do that all the time,” he said. “...Custom everything, from start to finish.”
Luna has lived in Los Alamos all his life.
“I love the small town atmosphere,” he said. “There’s a lot of things about a big city that I miss, the restaurants, things like that, but we’re in a very picturesque part of New Mexico.”
It also helps to be into car. Luna is a Corvette fan and has owned many through the years.
“As a car guy, driving a sports car through the mountains hasn’t gotten old yet,” he said.
His second love is being a small businessman. He grew up around the family business, Sparky’s, so being a small business owner was always a natural fit.
However, he did work for the post office here for 20 years and he did have one route for about 10 years. He did enjoy that for a while. Getting to know the families on his route was fun, but he knew he wanted something more.
“I would see babies grow up and go off to junior high school, but the thing was, I was not going to improve… I knew tomorrow I was going to go in and do the exact same thing, and the day after, and the day after, and I can’t do that,” Luna said.
People thought he was crazy to give up his nice-paying job and benefits to start a pizza restaurant, but he was up for the challenge.
“It was one of those things, where you sink or swim. If you put your heart and soul into it, it will be a success.”
And he loves the variety with his new business venture too.
“One day I’m working on something for the lab, and the next I’m working on something else,” Luna said.
Cruiser’s Custom Embroidery is located in the Trinity Professional Plaza at 3500 Trinity Drive. Luna is there most days in the mornings, but he advises customers call first to set up an appointment.
You can reach him at 661-9988. If he has some time, he may even show you around the shop to show you what he can do.
Pillows, blankets, quilts, hats, Luna has experience with any type of material.