Spanos Barber Jesse Acquires Dennis Uniform

Spanos Barber Jesse Acquires Dennis Uniform

Spanos Barber Jesse & Co. (SBJ) has completed its acquisition of Dennis Uniform, the oldest provider of school uniforms in North America.

Dennis Uniform is a designer and manufacturer of school uniforms – including polos, khakis, shorts, and skirts – that serves nearly 2,000 schools and 370,000 students per year through its website and through a national network of 37 retail locations operating in 20 states. According to SBJ, Dennis Uniform was an early adopter in e-commerce among school uniform providers and has developed one of the strongest online capabilities in the industry. The company’s manufacturing facility and headquarters is in Portland, OR (

Dennis Uniform was founded in 1920 by the Shipley family and began as a manufacturer of nursing uniforms. The company also supplied apparel and linens to military personnel shipping out of Portland during World War II. Thomas Shipley, the third-generation owner of Dennis Uniform, has retained a significant ownership interest in the company alongside SBJ and will continue to serve as Executive Chairman.

“After almost a century in the school uniform business, we decided to take on an investment partner to help us capitalize on the growth opportunities we see in our industry.  SBJ’s capital and strategic resources combined with Dennis’ leading retail and online platforms position our company well to serve as an industry consolidator.  The SBJ team also brings a collaborative approach that we felt we needed in a growth partner,” said Mr. Shipley.

Upon closing of the transaction, Gary Serra, previously the Chief Operating Officer at Dennis Uniform, has been named Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Serra has spent more than 15 years in the school uniform industry, including the last four years at Dennis Uniform, and was previously VP & Director of Sales at McCarthy School Uniforms, the largest school uniform provider in Canada.

“We have been longtime followers of the school uniform industry and are honored that the Shipley family chose to partner with us,” said Tom Barber, a Co-Founder and Managing Director at SBJ.  “We look forward to working with the Shipleys, Gary and the rest of the management team to continue the company’s long history of success.”

SBJ invests from $8 million to $35 million in consumer, business services and healthcare services companies that have up to $100 million in revenue and EBITDA from $1 million to $10 million. In October 2015, SBJ held a final closing on its debut fund, SBJ Fund LP, with total capital commitments of $204 million, exceeding its original $150 million target. The firm was founded by Gus Spanos, Tom Barber and Bill Jesse and has offices in Walnut Creek, CA (near San Francisco) and in Dallas, TX (

© 2017 Private Equity Professional | November 17, 2017

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