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Cape Fear Formal Wear Transitioning To New Owners

By Christina Haley O'Neal, posted Oct 3, 2017
Cape Fear Formal Wear Inc. will discontinue retail hours and local rental services at its downtown location in November. (Tile photo)
Cape Fear Formal Wear Inc.'s president and CEO announced Tuesday that the company's retail formal wear services are in the process of being transferred to a new, locally connected business by the end of the year.

In addition, Cape Fear Formal Wear's wholesale operation will transition to a different company, a news release said.

The longtime Cape Fear Formal Wear storefront in downtown Wilmington will close. Retail hours and local rental services will be discontinued at the 218 N. Third St. location as of Nov. 25, according to the announcement from Jeff Hovis, president and CEO of Cape Fear Formal Wear as well as a Realtor and residential and commercial broker with Intracoastal Realty.

“We would like to thank the Wilmington community for supporting our family-owned business,” Hovis said in the release. “We are excited about the new vision and growth the new owners have planned for our area. We will work with the new companies so as to prevent any interruption in formal wear services."

The new owners and a new location will be announced at a later date, Hovis said. The company is not selling its trading name and will be “quietly retiring it,” he added.

The Cape Fear Formal Wear property on North Third Street was purchased this summer for $1.15 million by Port City Hospitality LLC -- the hotel developers behind the Hampton Inn by Hilton Wilmington/Downtown at 225 Grace St.

Hovis said the new property owners are "looking to develop the site."

Cape Fear Formal Wear Inc. has been providing services to businesses and families throughout the region for more than 40 years. The business was started in Wilmington by Hovis' parents-in-law, Jim and Gloria Yedlicka, who are both deceased.

Cape Fear Formal Wear has occupied the Third Street property for more than 20 years. Prior to that location, Hovis said the business had its storefront on Front Street.

“I feel relieved because the transition of the business is going to people that I have been talking to for a long time and I trust. I’ve been doing it for 22 years ... and it’s nice to move on and focus on the real estate side of what I do,” Hovis said of the transfer to new ownership.

The company currently employs five people. Hovis said the employees will not remain with the business through the ownership transition. He is, however, working with some of the employees to place them in jobs. One longtime employee will work with Hovis in real estate, and another is going back to retirement, Hovis said.

“Many of our valued management staff will continue a working relationship with our family and we are excited for their new career endeavors," he said. "We have employed and still do employ some of the most talented individuals in our community. We have enjoyed the relationship with our staff and look forward to watching their future successes.”
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