“My dad worked for Brookley Field and had a partner, Johnny Pruitt. They named it Brookley Radio and TV. They worked there at night and my mom ran it during the day. They got their start by installing antennas. TV programming came from New Orleans from 7 p.m. until 10 p.m. Brookley Field phased out and dad stayed here, but his partner went to work for the government. Dad changed the name to Bailey’s TV and we have been in business for more than 65 years.
The store was in a strip shopping center. One of the first Delchamps was also there. My mom was a bookkeeper for Delchamps when it was a small chain. My parents lived in a nice community off DIP. They moved the store to McGregor Avenue in the Springhill area before that area took off. The store didn’t do that well. They moved to Skyland Shopping Center in the 70s, then came here in 1980 or 1981.
We grew up in playpens in the store and having toys there to keep us entertained. My brother, Brian, and I did the same with our own kids. We bought the business from our parents, now our kids are the third generation working here. Dad passed away five years ago, mom passed away in 2010.
Repairs have died off because it is often cheaper to throw away a TV than pay to fix it. We do pretty well in the mattress business and added grills. Business has been down about ten percent during the Coronavirus, but people are still buying grills and outdoor TVs for quarantine. Mardi Gras usually takes away from our business because people spend their extra money on tuxedos, gowns and throws but that isn’t happening in 2021. Our January this year is ahead of last year.
It is hard to reach the younger generation because they order everything online. Fighting the internet is our biggest challenge. But if our customers have problems, we take care of them. I have done a lot of fixes over Zoom calls. We keep finding ways to adapt and survive and take care of our customers.”