After 24 years of serving the Crossroads community, a locally owned, high-end jewelry store is closing, its owner announced Sunday.
Torin Bales, owner of Torin Bales Fine Jewelry at 6007 Zac Lentz Parkway, announced Sunday via Facebook that he plans to close his store so he and his wife can retire, spend more time with family and travel.
"We feel so blessed by each and every one of you. We love this community and will continue to give and serve," Bales wrote. "I want to thank each and every one of you for your business and friendship."
A closing sale will start at 10 a.m. Tuesday, according to the post.
Buddy Kamin, owner of Kamin Furniture, said he was sad and happy when he found out about his neighbor business closing.
"Torin has contributed a tremendous amount of goodwill and business to the Crossroads," Kamin said Sunday. "Torin Bales is probably one of the finest individuals I've ever known. His whole family is like that. It will be sorely missed."
The two businesses have been next to each other since Bales moved his business to its current location about seven years ago. Kamin said he considers Bales more as family than as a friend. The two businesses complement each other because Kamin sells high-end furniture and Bales sells high-end jewelry, Kamin said. In the past, the two have done promotions together.
"We sell top-of-the-line, and he sells top-of-the-line merchandise," he said. "Torin, the day he put his foot down on Victoria soil, he sold all the best of the best when it came to jewelry and the best when it came to service. ... It was a great, wonderful relationship between his customer base and my customer base."
About 11 years ago, Kamin passed on the management of his furniture store to his son, Bentley Kamin, who is now the company president. The transition has helped prolong Kamin's business by leaps and bounds, he said.
"I took it to another level than my father did, and my son has now taken it to another level," he said. "That's what you want to happen when you give a business to your child. You want them to move the business on."
Unlike Kamin, Bales doesn't have anyone to take over his business, Kamin said.
Sam Motiwala, owner of Regal Jewelers in the the Victoria Mall, said when he first heard Torin Bales Fine Jewelry was closing, he thought it was a joke because the store is so prominent in Victoria. After he confirmed the closing, he said he wished Bales all the best with his future endeavors.
"They've been here a long time - a very reputable store," he said. "I've heard really good things about Torin Bales and that he's been very active in the community."
Motiwala said Bales' store carries different lines than his shop. He also said after Torin Bales Fine Jewelry closes, there will be a void in the community because the store is the only Rolex watch dealer in town.
"I imagine his customers will be sad," he said.
Motiwala's store has been open for about 20 years and is locally owned like Bales'. He said the right products and good customer service are what have kept his store and Bales' open for so long.
"It would be an honor if we get some of their clientele," he said.
In 2013, Bales was named Citizen of the Year at the Victoria Chamber of Commerce's annual awards banquet. Bales moved to Victoria with his father's company, Suzanne's Jewelry Stores, and embraced the Crossroads community, said Randy Vivian, chamber president.
"Torin has been a great supporter of Victoria for the (24) years he's been here," Vivian said. "I understand wanting to retire and to start that phase of his life. The jewelry store will be extremely missed. I know that he'll still be around and still be doing stuff for the community."
Vivian said Bales has been philanthropic for the community and has restored historic buildings in downtown Victoria. He restored the building that houses the Moonshine Drinkery bar; Soiree, an events venue; and a building on Williams Street. He has a passion for the revitalization of downtown, Vivian said.
"He's been a great support for the chamber," he said. "He's been a big part of what what we've done here in the community."
Bales is also a member of the Victoria Main Street Program board, was elected to the Victoria Sales Tax Development Board and previously served on the Victoria Symphony board.
Bales was unavailable for comment Sunday but said he plans to talk Tuesday with the Victoria Advocate.