The South Dallas community is mourning the loss of a local business icon.
Jasper Baccus, who founded Baccus Cleaners, died this week. His friends, family, and clients said Baccus brought jobs and services to the southern Dallas area for decades.
It was anything but business as usual at the Baccus Cleaners location on Sunnyvale in Oak Cliff on Tuesday. Hearts were heavy as customers and family members entered the shop, bringing prayers and well wishes.
”He loved people,” Paul Baccus Sr. said about his dad.
Jasper Baccus and his businesses are known as institutions in southern Dallas. The 89-year-old entrepreneur had 17 children.
Paul Baccus Sr. said he had to come to work hours after learning of his father’s death in order to keep his mind of things. He remembered stories about how his dad got into the dry cleaning business.
“He told a story about what it took for him to be a professional businessman," Paul Baccus said. "He had a brand new Cadillac — I think it was a ’57 Cadillac — and to go in business for himself, he sold the Cadillac to buy his first dry cleaning machine.”
Those who knew Jasper Baccus described him as a loving man and business leader who made strangers feel comfortable.
During an interview with WFAA in 2015, the businessman shared the philosophy that’s kept customers coming back for decades.
"The main thing is giving quality service," Baccus said. "The next thing is making sure we give the kind of service that they wanted.”
Mr. Baccus suffered a stroke several years ago. Family members say his health began deteriorating about two weeks ago.
Dallas Councilman Kevin Felder has known Baccus and his family about 25 years.
"This is going to have a devastating impact on the community because Mr. Baccus was in South Dallas for 60 years," Felder said.
Community members said Jasper Baccus was committed to service. At its height, relatives said there were eight dry cleaners in operation, a laundry service, and a washeteria.
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway said he called Baccus a friend and mentor.
"The most important thing that he did not do, he was never ever a quitter," Caraway said. "If he believed in it, he’d take it on, and he would deal with it until the end.”
Family members said they will continue Mr. Baccus’s legacy of service to the community. They said they plan to have funeral arrangements finalized in the coming days.