The Kleins offer 'A Better Deal' on tuxedos, suits in La Jolla

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

Weddings may be "about 70 percent" of the business, says A Better Deal Tuxedo & Suits' Jerry Klein, but this family-operated store based in Bird Rock for nearly 20 years fills a variety of formalwear needs. Among them is preparing customers for gala fundraisers.

"These (events) designate the wearing of suits and the accessories that go with them," said Klein, who owns A Better Deal Tuxedo & Suits with his wife Janet, whom he lovingly calls his "right hand."

"A lot of people don't necessarily want to go out and buy a suit and accessories, but we fill a void there: the day before, the same day of, an hour before sometimes."

Klein cites a fringe benefit that comes with helping men — and women, too — dress formally and accessorize for fundraising events. "It's wonderful to meet these people who make the country go and also people in the sports and entertainment fields. Not only to meet them," he added, "but to have the honor of being able to put them in the garments they need to accomplish their goals."

Sometimes those fundraisers mean equipping young people with formalwear, as well. "The schools here, both private and public, have big occasions," Klein explained. "Their proms, their special events, and their own fundraisers."

A former ironworker in Chicago before he went into the clothing business — Klein says he doesn't fear heights, he has "respect for them" — he and his wife discovered upon coming West that dressing up was "a little less formal. Here, you'll find people who want it more casual."

But between weddings and fundraisers, fashion shows (they do about half a dozen a year) and more, the Kleins have no shortage of customers.

"You don't know what's going to hit the door sometimes when you open up," Klein said. "More often than not, it's a pleasure."

A Better Deal Tuxedo & Suits offers garments and accessories both for rental and retail on its 5,000-square-foot premises, and the inventory is onsite. "That's a big plus," said Klein. "We're confident that when somebody walks in the door, even if they're six-foot-eight, we'll be able to take care of them."

This includes customers who may not be familiar with the ins and outs of formalwear. "A lot of the people who come in are looking to get a bit of an education on the history of what to wear for a very important occasion," said Klein, who has been in the business almost 50 years.

"They soon realize that they've come to the right place. Besides educating them, Jerry and Janet Klein build goodwill with their clients. Little wonder that he describes his relationships with their customers as "very good and very happy."

A Better Deal Tuxedo & Suits is at 369 Bird Rock Ave., La Jolla. (858) 551-6044. abetterdealtuxedo.com

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