"It's almost a little funny," he says with a half-crooked smile.
Walking out of his office in the center of the square, Baker extends his arm eastward and points out the building where he began his work 38 years ago. He had just finished his bachelor's degree in business management at Delta State University, having married his high school sweetheart from Clarksdale, Cathy Willis, on New Year's Eve, 1976. "Doc" and Joe Ann Ward, Cathy's uncle and aunt, had opened Briarwood Animal Hospital on Canton Mart Road in the early 1960s. By the time Baker arrived in 1977, he says that "Doc and his guys" had transformed the six acres surrounding the hospital into a small and vibrant shopping center.