Ninnie Baird baked great tasting bread and from a simple beginning in Fort Worth, she went on to found Mrs. Baird's Bakeries. Ninnie had eight surviving children, of which each of the boys and some of the girls helped in the start of the business. The four sons were the main children involved in the growth of the business, which steadily expanded into other cities throughout the
state. Today Mrs. Baird's bread and other products are available in parts of Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
The Baird's Fort Worth neighbors were the first to become acquainted with Mrs. Baird's bread. In the beginning Ninnie would give away her pies, cakes and bread (generosity which the Mrs. Baird's Company continues through the Ninnie L. Baird Foundation). In 1912 William Baird, Ninnie's husband, died of diabetes, a then incurable disease. The family had been supplementing their income for some years selling Ninnie's baked pies, cakes and breads. Now the family business went into full gear. At first the boys delivered their bread on bicycles, but the delivery area soon grew so large that by 1915 the Baird's converted the family buggy into a delivery vehicle. The horse, Ned, knew the route so well that after each stop he started trotting down the street towards the next house buying bread.
The Baird family soon built a small bakery in their backyard. In 1920, they built their first plant in Forth Worth. Eight years later the Bairds opened a new plant in Dallas. A third bakery was built in Houston in 1938, and a fourth in Abilene in 1948, making it the largest independent bakery in the U.S. Change accompanied growth and success, but the family never compromised on their commitment to, "Quality, freshness, service".
Ninnie Baird died on June 3, 1963 and was buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Fort Worth. The Texas State Senate passed a resolution honoring Mrs. Baird, noting that she had been, "a living example for mothers, wives, business executives and good people the world over." Though Ninia Lilla Harrison is her birth certificate name, her legal and business name was Ninnie L. Baird. (This may help with any confusion about Mrs. Baird's "real" name.)
Along with her work ethic and commitment to quality in business, Mrs. Baird reached out to her community and shared what she had with others. These qualities have been passed on from each generation to the next, and Mrs. Baird's continues this tradition today by its involvement with numerous charities and local organizations.
Bibliography: Mrs. Baird's Bread - 90th Anniversary Commemorative History, 1998, published by the Mrs. Baird's Bread Company.
Supplementary notes provided by Byron R. Baird, President, Mrs. Baird's Bread