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Newark Stories: Bina Lourenco and Margaret Pereira

John O'Boyle


In the heart of the Ironbound section of Newark, in an old brick factory building, sits the Shifman Mattress Company. Shifman has been making mattresses by hand at that location for the past 123 years.

The work of hand-stitching mattresses is physically challenging, but many employees are loyal to the company and stay for decades.

Two of those employees are Bina Lourenco and Margaret Pereira. They're sisters who were born and raised on a farm in their native Portugal. They emigrated to the US two years apart from one another, more than 30 years ago. They've been working at Shifman in the sewing department for nearly as long.

Over a break at the factory, Bina and Margaret remember how they came to Newark, their work at Shifman, and what a difference a sister can make.