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SBJ invests in school uniforms maker DENNIS

Spanos Barber Jesse & Co has made an investment in Portland, Oregon-based DENNIS, a provider of school uniforms. No financial terms were disclosed.


Spanos Barber Jesse & Co. (“SBJ”), a private investment firm with offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas, announced today that it has completed an investment in Dennis Uniform Mfg. LLC (“DENNIS”). DENNIS is the oldest provider of school uniforms in North America and was founded by the Shipley family in Portland, Oregon in 1920. Thomas Shipley, the third-generation owner, has retained a significant ownership stake in the company and will continue to serve as Executive Chairman. Gary Serra, previously the Chief Operating Officer at DENNIS, has been named Chief Executive Officer.

DENNIS has a long operating history with deeply rooted customer relationships, serving more than 2,000 schools and 370,000 students per year with polos, khakis, shorts, skirts and numerous other uniform products. The company sells and distributes through its website as well as a national network of 37 retail locations operating in 20 states. DENNIS was an early adopter in e-commerce among school uniform providers and has developed one of the strongest online capabilities in the industry.

“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 DENNIS well to serve as an industry consolidator. The SBJ team also brings a collaborative approach that we felt we needed in a growth partner,” says owner Thomas Shipley.

Simultaneous with closing, Gary Serra was promoted to CEO. Gary has spent more than 15 years in the school uniform industry, including the last four years at DENNIS, and was previously VP & Director of Sales at McCarthy School Uniforms, the largest school uniform provider in Canada. Gary added, “after spending much of my career in the school uniform industry, this is as exciting a time as I have seen in terms of online growth and opportunities for consolidation. The team at DENNIS looks forward to continuing to provide our over 2,000 schools, their students and their families with exceptional service and high-quality school uniforms as we have since 1920.”

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

Founded in 1920, DENNIS is a third-generation family-owned school uniform provider based in Portland, Oregon. DENNIS is the oldest provider of school uniforms in North America and presently 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. DENNIS has earned the reputation as the “uniform experts” due to their dedication to the schools and families that they serve. For more information, please visit

About Spanos Barber Jesse & Co.
Spanos Barber Jesse & Co. manages a private investment fund with over $200 million of committed capital from offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and Dallas. SBJ invests in lower middle-market consumer, business services and healthcare services companies. SBJ has the flexibility to invest equity or debt in control or non-control situations to finance buyouts, recapitalizations, acquisitions and growth. Founded by a team of professionals with over 75 years of experience growing companies as investors, executives and advisors, SBJ draws on extensive operating experience and domain expertise to support the strategic goals of its partner companies. For more information, please visit