MINNEAPOLIS –When Alex Boone signed with the Vikings as a free agent in March, he fully embraced his move to Minnesota and the Twin Cities community – including its businesses.
Not long after relocating to the Midwest from San Francisco, Boone used social media to find a local custom-clothing line that piqued his interest.
"I saw their stuff on Instagram, and I was instantly in love," Boone said. "We set a date, got together, went over some clothes, and I couldn't be happier."
King Bros. Clothiers is the shop that caught Boone's eye.
Run by 28-year old twin brothers Danny and Kenny King, the business is based in a Minneapolis studio space that has welcomed athletes from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Twins, Wild and now Vikings.
Danny said adding members of the football team, also including rookie tight end David Morgan, to their client base was long-anticipated. He recalled one Christmas growing up when he received a Vikings-themed gift from his parents, including a Randall Cunningham Christmas ornament, a jersey and a leather Vikings wallet.
"It was all about the Vikings," Danny said. "If I could have seen myself now, meeting a need that these guys have, and that's part of what I do every day, I would have been ecstatic.
"My mom grew up in St. Paul and my dad grew up in Cleveland, so being a Browns fan was never in the cards," Danny added with a laugh. "We grew up as the 'takeout Kentucky Fried Chicken, Vikings game in the afternoon family' […] the Vikings are definitely a huge part of who we are."
And while Danny and Kenny are fans of football, Boone is a fan of fashion.
The 6-foot-8, 310-pound lineman credits his grandfather for spurring his interest in style.
"He always believed that if you look good, people are going to respect you more," Boone said. "In a profession where people are looking good, you don't want to be the one guy that's not looking good.
"This is [something] I take seriously," he added. "We take road trips, and everybody looks good. You don't want to be the one guy that's slacking."
Danny and Kenny also take style seriously. From even before they can remember, fashion has played a part in the twins' identity.
"We always had to identify ourselves by what we were wearing. Kenny was always in red, Danny was always in blue – that's how our mom dressed us," Kenny said. "So we understood instinctually from a really young age that what you wear communicates a message."
The King brothers are used to drawing attention when they walk into a room — they've been experiencing it their whole lives. But now, they are establishing themselves as entrepreneurs who are anything but identical to their competitors.
Vikings LB Alex Boone recently met up with Minneapolis-based King Brothers Clothiers to stock up on custom-made suites.
A lot of chain clothing stores or even semi-custom suit shops train sales people to quickly fit customers and focus on the numbers. Conversely, the Kings consider themselves clothing experts who care about their clients first and foremost – they know the sales will naturally follow.
"We're driven by image and clothing – we're passionate about that," Kenny said. "We're really motivated by [helping] you look good, and I think that plays well with our clients."
Boone appreciated the King brothers' enthusiasm around creating custom suits for him, as it matched his high energy level.
Boone has a big personality, a big frame and big ideas.
"Alex was a breath of fresh air," said Kenny. "He had a lot of cool things that he'd been thinking about, and he really likes to dress. So it was a lot of fun."
Kenny said his favorite part about working with Boone was the excitement and creativity he brought to the table.
"I think the quote he said was, 'I don't want to go to the party – I want to be the party,' " Kenny recalled.
As much as Boone enjoyed the initial session with Danny and Kenny, he was most excited about the final fitting and picking up the new jackets, vests, pants and accessories that had been ordered.
And he didn't arrive at the fitting alone.
One of the most unique parts of Boone as a client was the fact that he ordered matching jackets for himself and his 5-year-old son, Johnny.
"People look at your kids to see how you are as a parent," Boone said. "There's going to be times when Johnny comes with me to things. I love bringing him to things, and I want him to look good, too. So what better than to get him a suit just like mine?"
Johnny donned a miniature version of his father's two-tone purple check jacket as Boone knelt down to fix his hair.
"Tell me he doesn't look to the nines," Boone said proudly.
For Danny, a father of three himself, dressing the father-son duo made the experience that much more significant.
"It was really fun to be able to play a small role in Alex's unique relationship with Johnny, and to be able to see the excitement that Alex had to be able to do this with him," Danny said. "Johnny is so polite, he's so thankful, and he knows he looks good, which is really fun to see."