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Turbines To Tuxedos

This former aerospace owner takes dressing for success seriously.
Magazine Contributor
2 min read

This story appears in the April 2000 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Who would've thought a trip to the golf course would thrust 31-year-old James Cassels into the formalwear industry? When he met Gingiss franchisee Dick Witt during an informal game of golf, Cassels found his place among the tuxedo heavyweights.

After spending eight years running his own aerospace company, Cassels decided it was time for something new. It was July 1999 when he and Witt finally signed the papers that would turn Witt's 11 franchises into what would be Cassels' dream business.

Among the benefits of Cassels' decision to buy a franchise: his ability to tap Witt's expertise in the Dallas-area chain. With Witt on a one-year contract as a consultant, Cassels points out, "He's pretty much able to teach me everything because he owned the company for 29 years."

Witt's insight came in handy as Cassels made the transition from airplanes to tuxedos. "This involves more customer service to the public," says Cassels. What he enjoys most is the nitty-gritty of selling-from cold calling to helping out on the sales floor. The best part, he says, is that "90 percent of the time, [the customers] are in a good mood."

Now Cassels is ready to break new ground. He plans to operate a formalwear cleaning business alongside his 13 stores as well as open a valet serv-ice for local hotels. With 1999 sales of $4.2 million and 2000 projections of about $6 million, Cassels is adding three new stores to the dynasty-which he hopes to someday pass on to his 4-year-old son, Austin.

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