We Are Doing It: Bruce Baird And Company

Monday, July 27, 2020 - by Amy Clarke

As Chattanooga area businesses shift, pivot and change, trying to adapt to a new normal, many are tapping into the passion that led them to open their business in the first place. Over the course of the next number of weeks, the Chattanooga Chamber will profile some of these owners and share their inspirational stories on how they are doing it.

Like many small businesses during the height of COVID-19, Bruce Baird, owner of Bruce Baird and Company, a men’s clothier in the heart of downtown Chattanooga, ramped up his online store, offering curbside pick-up and personal delivery.

“Whatever we can do for our customers we will do,” Mr. Baird says. The longtime business owner, serving the Scenic City for over 32 years, still can’t believe he shut his doors for four weeks recently. But he was even more amazed by the support he got from the city he loves.

“So amazing were the calls that we got. People calling, two and three a day, ‘Hey Bruce, wanted to call and let you know I am thinking about you, when I need something I will come in, but how are you doing?'” Mr. Baird says. “We have such a wonderful customer base; they aren’t just my customers, they are my friends. I had one customer say, ‘Is there anything you need? Go ahead and get my husband a suit and sports coat.’ Stuff like that, it carried us through.”

Armed with a PPP loan and a full heart, Mr. Baird had no doubt he would pull through. Already, sales for June came close to his totals for the same time last year. And even though he has been outfitting generations of men for over three decades, for Mr. Baird, it still feels like he just started.

“I love it. I enjoy coming to work every day. I still see myself in my customers, coming in and saying, ‘Oh gosh, I would love to buy that.’”

It’s a phrase Mr. Baird remembers saying to himself as a young teen in the 60s. Like his father and mother, he had a flair for the finer things in clothing. And one day, he spotted the perfect big brand dress shirt, a Gant. He knew he had to have it.

“I paid $5 a week on it from mowing lawns,” Mr. Baird says. “I was so proud of that shirt. I can picture it now. It was yellow and plaid. I thought, ‘Oh, I have arrived, I got me a Gant shirt.’”

Fast forward a few years, and there was Mr. Baird working in a men’s clothing store in Chattanooga. First, it was with Ira Trivers. Later he helped open Jonathan’s and finally he opened his own store, Bruce Baird & Company. It was 1988 and he hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s one of those things, you just know it in your knower, you feel it,” he says. “I just love the business.”

Known for its ties, American-made men’s suits and lots of color, Bruce Baird is doing what he does best, taking care of customers and they are taking care of him.

“People need people and I have customers that came in right after we reopened, (saying) 'You know Bruce, I could have done this on the phone ... but I just had to get out. I had to come. It’s happy.’”


AG Slatery Urges Congress To Consider Pandemic Liability Protections

GDOL Addresses Outstanding Claims

Finalists For Chattanooga's 1st Annual Technology Excellence Awards Announced


Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, along with 21 other state attorneys general, co-signed a letter to Congress urging the adoption of the protections contained in the Safe to Work Act. ... (click for more)

The Georgia Department of Labor has recently been asked why not all initial unemployment insurance claims from the middle of March have not been paid. Officials said 92 percent of all valid claims ... (click for more)

ChaTech, the Chattanooga Technology Council, announces the first annual Technology Excellence Awards (TechX). The inaugural TechX Awards will recognize regional companies for outstanding involvement, ... (click for more)



Business

AG Slatery Urges Congress To Consider Pandemic Liability Protections

Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, along with 21 other state attorneys general, co-signed a letter to Congress urging the adoption of the protections contained in the Safe to Work Act. The legislation would help mitigate the threat of frivolous COVID-related litigation for much-needed goods and services while still ensuring victims have legal options where appropriate. The ... (click for more)

GDOL Addresses Outstanding Claims

The Georgia Department of Labor has recently been asked why not all initial unemployment insurance claims from the middle of March have not been paid. Officials said 92 percent of all valid claims have received benefits in the past 19 weeks where a payment has been requested, but many of the others are not eligible for payment per state and federal law. Over 135,000 claims have ... (click for more)

Breaking News

"Good Trouble Freedom Ride" Rally Moved To Community Haven Friday Night

The Community Haven was anything but serene during Friday’s rally against police brutality and systemic racism. Originally planned to take place in Miller Park, the event had to change venues after the city strongly advised the group of Chattanoogans and Atlantans to stay away off any city property. “We’re glad that we’re at the community haven and feel welcome here with brother ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Has 3 More COVID Deaths, State Has 20

The Hamilton County Health Department reported that the total number of Hamilton County resident deaths has risen to 53. Below are details of deaths 50-53: #50: 61-70 year old African-American, non-Hispanic male with multiple underlying conditions. #51: 61-70 year old African-American female with no underlying conditions and who was asymptomatic at the time of testing. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Congratulations To Marco Perez

Congratulations to Marco Perez on winning the District 2 School Board race. Marco and his team ran a well organized campaign. It is my hope that Marco will take that same organizational skill to continue the improvement of our public schools for the benefit of our nearly 45,000 students. Thanks to my incredible campaign team that worked tirelessly. Thanks as well to the many ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Tennessee Picks Hagerty

Throughout the day on Thursday, I found myself thinking about Manny Sethi and a day he once spent as a 10-year-old kid in central Tennessee. It was Little League baseball day in Hillsboro, which is right outside of Manchester, a town you know as halfway between Chattanooga and Nashville on I-75. For any energetic child, Little League Day is everything, because all the boys are assigned ... (click for more)