DuBOIS — Local and family-owned businesses in the DuBois area started preparing for area proms months ago, bringing in extra staff and merchandise to make it through the season smoothly.
Joe’s Tux Shop Owner Laurie Fitzer said they bring back many seasonal employees and family members for extra help during this time of year, when the most tuxedos need to be pressed and prepped for prom goers.
Some employees are working 12 hours a day to ensure tuxedos are ready in the short turnaround time, which is typically three to four days after they are returned, Fitzer said. For example, about 600 tuxedos went out last week, and 300 are needed this week.
Many employees return just to help with the chaotic business of prom time, volunteering to do things like assist customers, measure, press tuxedos or shine shoes.
“It really takes everybody working together,” Fitzer said. “Our employees have done a terrific job.”
Not all tuxedos go to local customers, considering that Joe’s wholesales to other men’s stores in places like Butler, Bradford and Altoona, Fitzer said. About 280 are reserved for local high schoolers in DuBois, Brookville and Ridgeway this coming weekend — whereas last week, which was DuBois Central Catholic’s prom — required about 650. Brockway Area High School and Jeff Tech held their proms the week prior, calling for about 730 tuxedos, creating a very busy week at Joe’s.
Joe’s Tux Shop is family-owned business that was started in the 1950s by Fitzer’s father, she said. It was moved from Sykesville to DuBois in 1986 and taken over by her in 1998.
Being a local business that has been passed down helps Joe’s to feel like a family-oriented environment, where friends help friends in order to get by and give the best service, Fitzer said.
“Everyone is more than willing to work and help out,” she said. “It’s definitely a family. A lot of people bring in family members if we need them.”
Another local business sees the peaks of prom season, preparing as early as December by bringing in extra gowns, said Nicole’s Niche Co-owner Cindy Powers, who co-owns the store in downtown DuBois with her daughter, Nicole.
The number of girls who come in shopping for prom gowns varies year to year, Powers said. April is usually the most popular month to try on, but this year it was March. Some high school girls will start looking soon after Christmas.
The gowns come in from different sources, and are offered at discounted prices, Powers said. Different bridal and prom gowns can be found at all price points and sizes. Girls can also bring their gowns in to consign within the shop – as long as they aren’t more than three years old — and those dresses can be passed on to other local shoppers.
Customers come in from a variety of nearby areas, including Punxsutawney, Clearfield, St. Marys, Brookville, Brockway and beyond, Powers said.
“Some years we are busier than others, and different years girls are looking for different things,” she said. “It just depends on who is looking for what.”
It’s always nice to support area business owners, and it’s fun for local moms and daughters to come and shop at a place owned by a mother-daughter duo, Powers said.
“Its always better economy-wise to support your locals,” she said. “Because we get these from different bridal companies, they don’t have to travel (to find them), and can try on at their leisure. Shopping local is better for the whole community.”
In a small town, you are also able to see different generations of families come in each year, watching them and their siblings find dresses, Powers said.
Joe’s Tux Shop and Nicole’s Niche can both be found on Facebook.