Dan and JoAnn DuBois, the founders of DuBois Inc., came to Green Bay in November of 1954 with a dream of owning their own business. Dan had many ideas for a business, but found himself unable to choose just one. To solve this problem, legend has it that Dan took the Denver yellow pages, set them down next to the Green Bay yellow pages, and started going page by page to see what Denver had that Green Bay didn't. This simple, yet elegant, process of elimination narrowed it down to a nut shop, a pizza parlor, or a formalwear shop. Needless to say, Dan chose the formalwear shop.
The first thing Dan and JoAnn did was get in touch with a men's clothing manufacturer. They soon bought 15 midnight blue tuxedos, 60 white dinner jackets, 8 dozen shirts, and 60 pair of shoes. With the merchandise on the way, Dan and JoAnn were now in the tuxedo business. There was only one problem: They had no place to keep all their tuxedos.
Dan walked the streets of downtown Green Bay, until he happened upon a gentleman named Lawrence Fieges, who ran a women's clothing store called "Feiges." Mr. Feiges told Dan he could rent the space above his store. The space proved large, but it needed quite a bit of work, as it had previously been used for storage and painting window props. With a lot of hard work and many gallons of paint, Dan and JoAnn made their dream come true. "DuBois Rent-A-Tux" located at 115 S. Washington Street, was established. Shortly thereafter, JoAnn's father, David, found the company's first sewing machine - a blind stitch machine used to alter the length of pants. That same machine is still employed by DuBois Formalwear to this day.
As the business continued to grow, Dan soon found himself working 60 to 70 hours a week. He decided that it was time to hire their first employee. Richard Owen, then a sophomore at East High School, joined the team, learning the formalwear business from the bottom up. He stayed with company until he retired in 2004.
Some time later, Dan and JoAnn met Aleck Gingiss, one of the original owners of Gingiss Formalwear. They called him the Godfather, as he always wore a homburg hat, a velvet-collared overcoat, and was never without a cigar in his mouth. The Godfather soon became a good friend of Dan and JoAnn, as well as their main salesman. He pushed Dan and JoAnn to expand their business, not only locally, but as a wholesaler as well. He succeeded on both counts, as Dan and JoAnn soon opened another store on Cherry Street in Green Bay and opened their first wholesale account in Escanaba, Michigan.
The big move came in April of 1968, when the company moved into the location on Broadway Avenue. Thanks to the large new facility, Dan and JoAnn were now able to do their own dry cleaning. They also had one store on Cherry Street, another storefront on Broadway Avenue, and an expanding wholesale division.
The company opened several additional stores in the years to follow. The first was on College Avenue in Appleton - July of 1971, which was closed in 1994. This was followed by the Sheboygan location in June of 1973. Shortly after this, Dan and JoAnn decided they wanted to get into the Bridal business as well. So in October of 1974 they opened the location on Military Avenue in Green Bay, containing both DuBois Formalwear and the Bridal Chateau. In June of 1984, the Fox River Mall location in Appleton opened. In the spring of 2007, DuBois opened a location inside Elaine's Bridal and Event Center on Hansen Road in Green Bay. Finally, in October of 2012, DuBois expanded to the Milwaukee area with stores in Brookfield, Greendale, Oak Creek and Racine.
In addition to the nine company stores, the wholesale division continues to grow, currently servicing more than 200 accounts. You can find authorized dealers of DuBois Formalwear throughout Wisconsin, Upper Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa.
Dan and JoAnn always believed that the success of the business rides upon the people who have been faithful in helping them build it. For over 60 years, DuBois has been the leading provider of formalwear in our region by providing high quality and friendly, personalized service to our customers and accounts. Our goal is to ensure that our customers look and feel their best on their special day. DuBois Formalwear has grown to become the best-known formalwear shop in the area, respected for its commitment to quality and service.
Today, DuBois Formalwear is owned and operated by Dan and JoAnn's son, Jim DuBois.