Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Michael Martin had to rent a number of tuxedoes for his four sons during their time in high school.
Each time Martin rented a tuxedo, he had to travel to Augusta, taking his money out of the local economy. When he decided to open a business, he brought a men’s formal store to North Augusta in Gent’s Formal Wear on Knox Avenue.
“There are so many surrounding high schools – North Augusta, Fox Creek, Strom Thurmond and Midland Valley – and the middle schools,” Martin said. “We always had to take our business across the river, and I thought this would be a good business for North Augusta. Also, I wanted to start a business that would give me a good return on my investment, and I got a good location. It all came together for me.”
Gent’s Formal Wear offers a number of tuxedo styles and vests and ties in a multitude of colors.
“We’ve got all styles of tuxedos and brands,” Martin said. “We also have various colors of vests and ties, almost any color imaginable we can match up. We also sell accessories, including shirts, socks, shoes – anything that would accessorize a tuxedo.”
Martin said Gent’s Formal Wear is different from chain tuxedo places because he has reasonable prices.
“What makes Gent’s special is that we don’t overcharge,” he said. “I have the tuxedo priced right; I don’t increase and then bring the price down – they’re already down. My biggest thing is availability and access, I’m right here where people shop and live, so they can always stop by.”
Gent’s Formal Wear has tuxedoes ranging in price from $79.95, the budget tuxedo, to $189.95. Shoes range from $20 to $30 – top hats and canes are also available.
While Gent’s Formal Wear will be open all year, Martin knows prom season will be a busy time for his business.
“During prom season, we’ll probably make 45 percent of our income for the year,” he said. “During the rest of it, I’ll be taking orders on weddings, a lot of weddings come around in the fall and spring. I’ve been open one week and I’ve already booked five weddings. We also do formal events that take place in the area.”
Gent’s Formal Wear is located at 1227 Knox Ave. For more information, call 803-341-9049.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.