Hardwick is known for its "Sewn in the South" slogan and in the '60s made the best blazer in the world. The company will formally introduce its new CEO and new flag on July 28 at the company's 134th birthday celebration. When Allan Jones began negotiations to acquire the bankrupt Hardwick Clothes earlier this year, his first priority was to find the best leader possible to guide the 134-year-old company into the future.
Jones conducted a nationwide search and announced that Bruce Bellusci -- formerly the Executive Vice President of Sales at Hart Schaffner & Marx -- had been selected to fill the coveted position of CEO.
He is Hardwick's ninth CEO/President since the company began in 1880. Bellusci worked at Hart Schaffner & Marx for 34 years and served as the Executive Vice President since 2006. He was responsible for sales, merchandising, advertising, marketing, and distribution. He is regarded as an expert in the tailored menswear business.
"Hardwick Clothes will soon be known as the company with the best blazer in the world and we wanted the best CEO to help us get there," said Jones, best known as the founder and CEO of Check Into Cash, the second largest payday lender in America. "With Bruce on our team there is no limit to what we can achieve. The whole world is watching."
Cleveland, TN businessman C.L. Hardwick founded Hardwick Clothes on July 28, 1880 and the company stayed in the family until the Jones acquisition on June 16. Jones said the company's new flag that will be flown every day after July 28 is actually an old flag -- the version of Old Glory that existed in 1880.
"Old Glory only had 38 stars in 1880 and on July 28 we will be raising the same flag C.L. Hardwick raised on the company's first day 134 years ago," Jones said. "Since that first day, the company has survived two major fires, two World Wars, the Great Depression, leisure suits, NAFTA and -- worst of all -- making us watch China manufacture our Olympic team's blazers."
Jones is considered to be one of the 20th wealthiest Tennesseeans. His career began at the age of 20 after he left college to help his father, who was suffering from emphysema, stabilize the family's small, manually operated credit bureau located in his hometown of Cleveland. Jones built the business into the largest credit bureau database in the state and then turned the collection agency into the largest in Tennessee as well, with offices from Memphis to Atlanta.
Jones founded Check Into Cash in 1993 and the company grew to include 1,300 locations nationwide. He has numerous other brands, including LendingFrog.com, U.S. Money Shops and Buy Here Pay Here USA, LoanbyPhone.com. .