GenTeal recovering from warehouse roof collapse; owner hopes to return to Oxford

Published 10:07 am Friday, February 2, 2024

The recent winter storm Gerri and the several inches of ice and snow that came with it, caused the roof on GenTeal Apparel’s new 30,000-square foot warehouse to collapse.

The building has since been condemned, forcing the company to quickly find a large enough space to operate its warehouse. CEO Blake Dubinski said the company has moved its operations to Tupelo for the time being.

“We tried to find space in Oxford, but for as much as our business has grown, we needed quite a bit of space, at least 30,000 square feet, which we found over in Tupelo,” Dubinski said recently.

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The building, located in the Lafayette County Max D. Hipp Industrial Park, is privately owned and was leased to GenTeal about five months ago.

“We were fortunate to have that space while we had it,” Dubinski said. “I’m hoping that we can we can figure out a way to get back in a space like that in Oxford.”

Allen Kurr, vice president of the Oxford-Lafayette County Economic Development Foundation, said the EDF will continue working with GenTeal in hopes of finding them a new home in Oxford.

“The EDF has been in continuous contact with GenTeal’s leadership team and are working on long term options to best support the company,” Kurr said. “We appreciate the hard work and support that both the county and city have offered to GenTeal during this time.”

Founded in 2016 by Dubinski and Brice Noonan, GenTeal was first sold at historic men’s clothing shop Landry’s on Oxford Square. The two men met in 2014 at the University of Mississippi, where Noonan is a biology professor and Dubinski currently teaches two business classes. In 2016, they sold their first shirt.

“The whole idea was we wanted to find something that wasn’t so nautical and preppy, but more for the avid outdoorsman,” Dubinski said. “We wanted to be the finer menswear brand for the avid outdoorsman. And I think we found a good niche.”

The GenTeal line can now be found in more than 250 specialty retailers and country clubs in 22 states. From 2019 through 2022, the company grew by 485 percent, positioning it in the top 15 fastest-growing retail operations in the Southeast. Starting out with just the two of them, they now have more than 30 employees at GenTeal, mostly from the Oxford area.

Regardless where GenTeal’s next new big warehouse is located, Oxford is still home to both Dubinski and Noonan.

“It will be an inconvenient next six months for us as we try to recover from what happened,” he said. “Everyone on our team is full speed ahead.”