He was born in a shotgun house in the Mississippi Delta in 1937, was captain of the local football team in 1955, was offered a scholarship to a state college but instead followed a friend out to Hollywood where he got into costume design. A friendship with John Wayne that began on the set of True Grit ultimately resulted in his setting up his own costume company, American Costume Company. However, Luster Bayless, never forgot where he grew up, returning often from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood to visit his hometown of Ruleville, MS.
When the local clothing store was offered for sale, he bought it “lock, stock and barrel”, shipping the clothes in inventory out to his 40,000 sf facility in Hollywood. He turned the empty storefront into a café/Hollywood museum with a focus upon John Wayne. He also purchased an old plantation on the outskirts of town, turning it into The Old Place Bed and Breakfast. My wife and I stayed there on our trip to Ruleville.
Luster came back home to reinvest in his hometown. How many Luster’s does each of your towns have? How can you get them to also come back home?