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.’”


RTC Donates $10,000 To Support The Catoosa County Public Schools Digital Learning Initiative

CBL Properties To Close Stores On Thanksgiving For 5th Consecutive Year

America’s Car-Mart Opens New Dealership In Chattanooga


Ringgold Telephone Company has donated $10,000 in digital learning equipment and labor to the Catoosa County Public School System. "School is almost back in session; yet, due to the threat ... (click for more)

CBL Properties on Monday announced that its portfolio of regional shopping centers will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day for the fifth consecutive year. “We are proud to continue our tradition ... (click for more)

America’s Car-Mart, Inc. opened its 150th dealership located in Chattanooga on July 31. This will be the seventh dealership in Tennessee and the second dealership opening in fiscal year 2021. ... (click for more)



Business

RTC Donates $10,000 To Support The Catoosa County Public Schools Digital Learning Initiative

Ringgold Telephone Company has donated $10,000 in digital learning equipment and labor to the Catoosa County Public School System. "School is almost back in session; yet, due to the threat of Covid -19, some local families are opting to keep students at home, choosing to try the virtual, digital-learning route instead of traditional, in-class education," officials said. "As ... (click for more)

CBL Properties To Close Stores On Thanksgiving For 5th Consecutive Year

CBL Properties on Monday announced that its portfolio of regional shopping centers will remain closed on Thanksgiving Day for the fifth consecutive year. “We are proud to continue our tradition of closing our centers on Thanksgiving,” said Stephen Lebovitz, chief executive officer. “Given the challenges of 2020, it’s more important to us than ever to ensure our employees and ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Supt. Johnson Says County Schools To Start Aug. 12 In Groups, But Hope To Be Fully Open By Aug. 30

Hamilton County Schools Supt. Dr. Bryan Johnson on Monday said the schools plan to open Aug. 12 with two groups of students at each school each attending two days a week. However, he said it is hoped that students will be able to go five days a week by Aug. 30. The opening format includes Group A going on Wednesday, Aug. 12, and Group B on Thursday, Aug. 13. Friday will be ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Has Just 52 New Coronavirus Cases, But ICU Cases Continue To Go Up; Tennessee Has 25 More Deaths

Hamilton County had just 52 new coronavirus cases on Monday and deaths remained at 48. However, the number of COVID patients in Intensive Care continued to go up and is now at 37. Total cases now are 5,669 after the numbers have dropped in recent days. There are 86 COVID patients hospitalized as well as four more suspected cases. The number of active cases in Hamilton ... (click for more)

Opinion

Leave C.E. James Monument And Park Alone - And Response (4)

The recent controversy over the monument to our town's founder, C.E. James, is more than a completely unnecessary and avoidable waste of time and possibly money - it is contrived and downright silly. Race-based restrictions on residential real estate sales weren't just common a century ago, they were universal in both the North and South. Such "red-lining" didn't start to die out ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Laughing With Jim Murray

When I was in high school, I would love it when the “Newspapers in Education” would roll around once a week. The Chattanooga Times was a real Godsend because it offered me something interesting to read during class and, man, I would pounce on the paper. I would immediately find the syndicated columnist, Jim Murray, and revel in his every word. He was - and this I believe to this ... (click for more)