Biz Buzz Monday: Neighboring business owner purchases longtime Dubuque clothier

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Biz Buzz shares business tidbits from the tri-states. In addition to this update, we will highlight additional developments from Dubuque in Tuesday’s edition.

A new chapter is underway for a longtime formal wear business in downtown Dubuque.

Local business owner Cally Burkle recently purchased Gordon’s Toggery, as well as the building in which it resides at 177 Main St. Burkle owns B-1 Yoga, which has occupied the storefront beside Gordon’s Toggery since 2014.

After seven years in close proximity, Burkle has gained a deep appreciation for the business.

“It is a staple in the community,” she said. “Multiple generations of local residents have shopped there and rented a tux for a prom or a wedding.”

Gordon’s Toggery rents tuxedos, suits and a variety of other menswear. Under the new ownership, the focus and the name of the business will remain the same.

Burkle aims to modernize certain aspects of the business. For instance, the previous owners tracked inventory through handwritten records in notebooks; Burkle plans to introduce software that can keep track of such things.

“We are looking forward to giving (the business) new life and bringing it into the 21st century,” she said. “But we are also going to pull in as much history as we can.”

Burkle said she’ll also make sure that the products in Gordon’s Toggery remain affordable, noting that the previous owners long placed an emphasis on keeping their prices low.

The origins of the business date back to the early 1900s, when it was still known as Plass Toggery. It was renamed Gordon’s Toggery in 1952.

The business was sold to Gary Kempthorne in 1969. Around that same time, it relocated to 177 Main St., where it has remained for a half-century.

Over time, Burkle became close to Gary and his wife, Dina.

“They would take in my packages. We would shovel each other’s sidewalks. We would just look out for each other,” she said. “We’ve been great neighbors and great friends.”

After Gary died in 2019, the family began contemplating the future of the business. Now, Burkle is happy to carry on that tradition.

She will continue to operate B-1 Yoga and is excited to be at the helm of two businesses in the Lower Main Street district.

Gordon’s Toggery can be reached at 563-582-5288. It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.