Meet Christopher Davidson! Christopher is the longtime owner of Christopher’s Tuxedo and Bridal, the oldest retail location remaining on the downtown Gainesville square. Christopher is a Gainesville native, member at Lakewood Baptist Church and lover of all things Hall County.
Christopher began his career by making costumes for theatre when he attended Gainesville High School, then he landed back in Gainesville after college. Soon after, Christopher’s opened and he was one of the first to open a bridal dress shop paired with a tuxedo shop in the country.
He added that he is excited to see romanticism back in wedding gowns in 2019.
“They are getting a little more romantic and no so fashion forward. Lace is still big, I love a clean dress too, there’s nothing prettier than a clean dress,” he said. “The comment I always make to brides is that I don’t want to see the dress, I want to see you wearing the dress.”
Since Christopher’s opened in 1985, he has seen many changes to the square and is optimistic in the direction the square is moving now. He said he wants to make sure to keep Gainesville’s uniqueness, even through growth.
“I hope that we will not worry about other towns and their squares, and we keep this Gainesville” he said. “I don’t care what Greenville or Charleston has done, that’s fine for them but we are Gainesville and we need to keep that in mind. I hope that retail remains important and prominent on the square.”
In his spare time, Christopher performs with a quartet at Lakewood Baptist. You can catch the quartet this Sunday at Lakewood when they perform as the backup ensemble, who just recorded their first album, for Christian singer Steve Green. The concert is free and open to the public
We want to thank Christopher for recently sitting down with us and telling us more about his life and love of Hall County.
Question: What inspired you or led you to your current career?
Answer: “For one thing, in high school I did costuming for the theatre but also growing up there was a shop on the square called Mintz (where Inman Perk in currently located) and they were jewelry on the main level and upstairs was the bridal shop. Nan Mintz, who was the owner, she and my grandmother were real good friends. So, when we would come to the square we would go and see Nan and I would go upstairs to the bridal shop. It was always there in my life and actually when they went to close the store she tried then to get my parents to buy it. I was a freshman in high school and my dad said we weren’t going to do that. I went to school, my degree is design and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. I had interviewed with Sax as a buyer and I just didn’t think I wanted to do that and so I came back home. There was a shop at that point called Robinson’s and it was just a tuxedo store…he asked my dad what I was doing and asked if I would run the store for me for six months? I didn’t have anything to do and that’s what I was doing and after about six weeks of doing that, my dad calls one day and asks ‘What do you think about running Robinson’s? Well, I just bought it.’ So, that pushed me into it. At that point we were about eight months into the tuxedo store and I decided to put in gowns. The sales reps told me I had lost my mind and it would never work. This was the late 80s and they didn’t think men would go into a woman’s dress shop to rent a tux. I had a bridal gown rep that said there were only four stores in the country that had done this. We went from the small store, to three stores…I was never at the right place at the right time. This (the current Christopher’s building) had been repossessed by First National and I had called and wanted to buy it…they said they weren’t selling it and that went on for five years. And one day they called and asked if I still wanted the corner. Everyone thought that I had lost my mind…it was during the downturn in the 90s but my comment was I was cutting three rents, three utilities into one property.”
Q: Who is the most interesting person you’ve met in Hall County and why?
A: “Mama Sally Jackson, who lived in the house next to Rudolph’s (now Mellow Mushroom) on Green Street. When they started Christmas on Green Street they asked her for her house to be on the tour and so she called me and wanted me to decorate. When I was decorating the house, she and I would sit down and talk and she would tell me about when Green Street was dirt, she would tell me stories that I would have given anything to have sat with a recorder. She probably was the most interesting because she knew so much, she played the piano and had a Grand in her house and she would tell me about playing concerts in her home, she told me about building First Baptist, and the front porch being added. She had story after story about Gainesville and Hall County. She had to have lemons in her Christmas decorations, to her that was a Christmas tradition. There were lemons in wreaths and garlands…she grew up with that being part of Christmas.”
Q: What is your favorite childhood memory?
A: “One of my favorite childhood memories is coming down to the square and at that point there was a shop called Milner’s, next to where Saul’s was, and there was a moving Santa Claus in the window and the square had the lights on the poles and that was my memory of the square at Christmas.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
A: “I love Paris, I could live in Paris. Italy, I’ve done weddings in both of those places. Probably Paris is my favorite, simply because of the fashion.”
Q: What is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “‘The Jungle Book,’ at that time Sherwood had Saturday matinees and you could go to that without your mother and daddy.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “To go to China Fashion Week. It’s a big thing, it’s where all the manufacturers show, not just the designers. You can’t just go. You have to apply to go to that.”
Q: What is your favorite thing about Hall County?
A: “That there are still small town aspects that we still have, we have grown, we are close enough to Atlanta that you can be there in no time. It is nice to be able to walk in the bank and they know who you are, rather than being just a number.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “Time will tell. My philosophy with the store has always been the day it’s no longer fun is the day I say it’s time for a change. Right now it is fun.”
Q: What is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “A lot people don’t know that I sing, a lot of people don’t know that I paint, I do watercolors. Also, I design for celebrities that people would never realize.”
Q: What three words mean “Home” to you?
A: “Family, Security, Friends.”
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.