George Zimmer’s Generation Tux to Open First Physical Stores

It’s been 11 years since George Zimmer was fired — his word — from the Men’s Wearhouse, the business he started in 1973. But it didn’t take him long to embark on his next chapter, an online tuxedo and suit rental business called Generation Tux that he created the following year.

Now with a decade under his belt, Zimmer is ready to take Generation Tux to the next level by opening physical showrooms around the country.

The first shop will open in Columbus, Ohio, next week followed by Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Dallas, and Phoenix in the first half of the year. Beyond that, the hope is to add five or more showrooms every year.

“Generation Tux is making a lot of money so we’re expanding our approach to create a hybrid model to propel us to the next level,” Zimmer said.  

The cities chosen for the physical stores were not necessarily selected because they’re the most popular locations online. “That’s a factor, but it’s really about finding the best real estate available at the time,” Zimmer explained. “We want small spaces — they’re showrooms, not stores — and it’s not easy to find a spot that small.”

The showrooms will be about 1,000 square feet and won’t carry inventory other than samples that customers can try on to ensure a proper fit. “As we open these stores, it gives our customer the opportunity to realize we’re a real business with real merchandise,” he said.

Once the customer selects a model, he can then select the color and other personalized details using the company’s interactive styling tool. When the order is complete, it is shipped to the customer from Generation Tux’s warehouse in Louisville, Ky.

“Our system is set up to ship two weeks before a wedding,” Zimmer said, “but we can ship for a prom as close as two days for an upcharge.”

The tuxedo business got a big boost once the pandemic ended as weddings and other special events were rescheduled, and Generation Tux benefited from that upsurge. Today, Zimmer said business remains “very strong and getting stronger.” He believes that the company is taking share from competitors such as his former company, Men’s Wearhouse, as well as Black Tux, another online tuxedo rental business.

“We’re executing better,” he said. “Nobody really understands this business like I do. It’s an incredibly profitable business [model] which entices a lot of people to go into it,” but it’s not easy. “Weddings take place so far in the future and you don’t get paid until after they take place. But we figured this out 25 years ago when I started the business at Men’s and the second time is a little easier.”

George Zimmer

George Zimmer

Joshua Scott

Zimmer said he isn’t sure how many showrooms Generation Tux can ultimately operate since the first one has yet to open. “It could anywhere from 25 to 250,” he said.

At the age of 75, Zimmer doesn’t need to keep working, but he remains involved in Generation Tux out of a love for the business. It is run by Jason Jackson, a former Men’s Wearhouse employee that Zimmer handpicked to oversee Generation Tux.

“I live in California and I talk to the key guys every week. I’m involved in the big decisions, not the day-to-day,” Zimmer said. “I track the numbers and income statements and the balance sheet. So I know the company is in good shape.”

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