Personality: Dayal Baxani

5/26/2017, 2:26 p.m.
Dayal Baxani began to build his relationship with Neighborhood Housing Services of Richmond the same way he builds many of ...

Dayal Baxani began to build his relationship with Neighborhood Housing Services of Richmond the same way he builds many of the relationships that have maintained his family’s business, 707 Fine Clothing, for nearly 40 years — word of mouth.

“In 2015, a customer recommended another customer to me who told me about an organization she worked with,” Mr. Baxani recalls. “She told me that one aspect of NHSR was helping veterans, and I thought, ‘That’s cool.’”

Mr. Baxani became a volunteer on the board of the organization, a private, nonprofit corporation created nearly 30 years ago to help create affordable housing for Richmonders and their families, including veterans.

This year, the 34-year-old takes on an even more challenging role as volunteer chairman of the organization’s event designed to thank supporters and raise awareness about the group — the Casino Royale event.

The black-tie fundraiser supports the organization’s “A Home for Our Heroes” initiative to assist physically impaired servicemen and women and their families who are homeless.

Fine clothing may appear to be removed from fundraising for veteran housing, but Mr. Baxani views the two as quite comparable.

“It’s about building relationships and helping people,” he says.

Growing up in the business of tailored fine clothing, Mr. Baxani says he had no interest in continuing in the family tradition. When he started Virginia Commonwealth University as an accounting major, he found the idea of sitting behind a desk all day crunching numbers rather unappealing. He switched to business management, but then the family business began to suffer because of a downturn in the economy.

“I stopped going to school and started working with my dad to build the business back up,” he says. The hard work paid off. He began to understand his father’s passion for the business, and that passion became contagious. When the opportunity arose to help by giving back to veterans through NHSR, he says he jumped at the opportunity.

“Our veterans come back from serving. They’ve seen things we’ve never seen and are wounded in ways we can and cannot see,” he says. “It just hit me in my heart.

“With the sacrifices our veterans make, the thought that I could make a difference in their lives is the least I can do.” Meet this week’s Personality and housing advocate, Dayal Baxani:

Volunteer position with Neighborhood Housing Services of Richmond Inc.: Board member and chair, Casino Royale.

Occupation: Haberdasher at 707 Fine Clothing.

What I do: We design and dress men in fine clothing.

Date and place of birth: Aug. 2 in Richmond.

Education: Godwin High School.

Family: Wife, Thao Tran; two boys, Dayal Baxani Jr., 3, and Bach Baxani, 6 months.

When and why I became involved with NHSR: I like helping disabled veterans who have fought for us so that we can enjoy the gift of our lives. We owe it to them to assist them in their time of need.

How I find time to support NHSR: I attend board meetings once a month and manage work-life balance.

NHSR mission: Successful homeownership and revitalizing communities.

Status of affordable housing in our area: Unsatisfactory. We need more affordable housing and funding support.

How housing market has changed over the past few years: The market has slowly improved, but it’s more expensive to find a decent home and there are not enough affordable homes for veterans.

No. 1 budgetary challenge in this economy: Housing funding for low-income families.

How I start the day: Thankful to have another day to make a positive impact on the world.

The three words that best describe me: Loving, kind and a chatterbox.

If I had more time, I would: Continue my same routine but have more time to do more of it.

Kindergarten taught me: To have fun in life.

The person who influenced me the most: My parents.

Book that influenced me the most: “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod.

What I’m reading now: “Crush It! Why Now Is the Time to Cash in on Your Passion” by Gary Vaynerchuk.

Next goal: Continue showcasing fashion to the men of Richmond.