Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Thanks for century of service in Victoria
Our hometown economy is full of small businesses owned by families in our community who work hard to achieve success.
Over the years, several businesses have come and gone, but others have remained in the area for generations. But even after 100 years of success and investment, the end still comes. That is the case for Thomas Barnes Fine Jewelry, a company that has faithfully served the Victoria and Crossroads communities for a century.
The business opened in 1913 when R. H. Barnes and his son Bill Barnes moved their jewelry shop - R.H. Barnes, Jeweler - from Cuero to Victoria.
The store was passed down through the family and saw name changes, relocations and even an online offshoot. Now, the store is closing after the next generation chose to pursue different careers outside the jewelry industry.
We are sad to see a business with so much history close. A quick search through the Advocate archives reveals numerous mentions of the Barnes family in the Victoria community. Weddings were announced, store relocation notices were published, and the family even offered opinions on the emergence of online retail sales in 1999.
As far back as 1923, the Barnes family was cited as a successful part of the community. In the Oct. 14, 1923, edition, an article announcing the retirement of R.H. Barnes praised him as "one of the best known and most successful businessmen of this section" with a store that "has always been a great credit to Victoria."
The Barnes family was so trusted that Bill Barnes was paid by the county to wind the old mechanical clock in the 1892 courthouse until it was replaced by an electric mechanism.
Chip Dence, of East End Builders, remembers when Tom Barnes came back from gold casting school in New York in the early 1970s. Dence brought his wife's watch, which was a high school graduation present that had stopped working earlier, to him to be repaired. Dence drew a design for a new watch band on a napkin and Barnes cast it. Dence still, has the watch today.
This story reminds us of the true legacy of the Barnes family's work in Victoria. This is a family that provided quality items that can be passed down through generations of families along with the stories of where they came from and how they touched people's lives.
We are grateful to the Barnes family for their years of service. We are sad to see the business close after the decades of connection to our community, but we wish them well in their retirement.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.