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Torin Bales Experiences a Year of Firsts After Closing His Store

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Torin Bales has time to relax with his wife, Melissa, and grandchildren.

Torin Bales closed his store in Victoria, TX, in February 2018, and last year represented a new way of life. “It was the first weekend after Thanksgiving to ever take off, and I spent the second Saturday before Christmas in San Antonio, shopping. I spent one morning in December with my grandkids, who were in a Christmas performance. That’s what I was really hoping to gain back was time with my family. I have breakfast with my daughter and my granddaughter two or three times a week.

“I knew I had to make an exit strategy. Otherwise, you blink your eyes and you’re 75.”

Bales, 56, grew up in the business — his father still owns a store — but he never asked his own daughters to join him in his business. “If they had ever come to me and said they were interested, that would have been great, but neither had any interest at all.” 

Bales has a keen interest in preserving Victoria’s downtown, serves on the Main Street Board and has won four preservation awards. He has an office outside of his home. “It’s more of a hobby than a business. I’m trying to give something back to the community.”

He has informally advised eight or 10 jewelry store owners about their exit strategies since he closed his business. “I’m honest with them. It’s not for everyone. My dad is still working and he’s 78 years old. I didn’t want that. It’s a wonderful business but it’s taken time away from my family. 

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 “Probably their biggest question was ‘How did you know you were ready to do it and are you bored?’ I have friends in the industry who think they are ready, but they’re not. If I didn’t have my projects and a lake house and grandchildren, I don’t think I would have been ready for it either. You have to have hobbies, or a passion for something.”

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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