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CITIZEN OF STYLE

Passion

for Fashion With his brothers, George Gavalas carries on his father’s vision at Nic’s Toggery by JORDAN ANDERSON

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July–August 2019

TALLAHASSEEMAGA ZINE.COM

nside Nic’s Toggery on Market Street, George Gavalas appears clothed in his element. Dressed in a cool-tone suit and shiny Oxford shoes, Gavalas matches his specialty menswear store: cool, clean and stylish. To ’70s music, he converses with customers, most of whom he considers friends, while he carefully sifts through racks for jackets, treating each one with care. He already knows which trousers, shirts and belts would match. As customers model jackets in the mirror, Gavalas stands beside them. He watches their face and knows when they conclude they’ve come to the right place: They’re beaming. “When you look good, you feel good, and that’s what I’m here for, to make people feel special when they come in,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.” For three decades, Gavalas has dressed Tallahassee men at the company his father passed down to him and two of his older brothers, Victor and Mike. Through formalwear, George fulfills his father’s dreams while fulfilling his own, including making others feel good. He knows he has succeeded when someone comes back to the store to tell him they’ve turned heads in their new threads. “That makes them feel like a million bucks,” he said. “That makes me feel like 10 million bucks.” Though Nic’s Toggery bears his father’s name, George Gavalas earned his place in the business like many would. He worked his way up. He

sold suits on the floor of the downtown location in 1979, right after graduating from Florida State University. “The next day, I went to work,” he said. He started running a store at the Tallahassee Mall a year later. He opened the Market Street location in 1983, after closing the mall store. Nic retired in the late ’80s, handing the company to George and his brothers.

←↑ George Gavalas sports a Samuelsohn blue mini windowpane suit, an Eton white shirt, a Nic’s tie and Magnanni monk strap shoes.

They run locations on North Main Street downtown and on Market Street, plus a Nic’s Big & Tall on Market Street. George says he spent much of his childhood with his father at the store. As Nic interacted with customers, George thought, “Wow, everybody knows Dad,” he remembers thinking. “He liked everybody and everybody liked him,” Gavalas said. “That’s what made him what he was. He was so personable to everybody — no matter your status in life. He was always the same to you, no matter what.” photography by ALICIA OSBORNE

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Tallahassee Magazine July/August 2019  

Join Tallahassee Magazine in celebrating their 40th Anniversary. For four decades, the award-winning magazine has been capturing the essence...

Tallahassee Magazine July/August 2019  

Join Tallahassee Magazine in celebrating their 40th Anniversary. For four decades, the award-winning magazine has been capturing the essence...