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Torin Bales Fine Jewelry

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Torin Bales Fine Jewelry, Victoria, TX

OWNERS: Torin Bales Fine Jewelry; ADDRESS: 6380 North Navarro, Victoria, TX; PHONE: (361) 576-4777


AFTER MANY YEARS WORKING in his fatherʼs Texas jewelry store, Torin Bales decided to set out on his own 10 years ago. Looking for business locations, he saw high potential in the small town of Victoria. While it had a population of only 65,000, Victoria was increasingly affluent — with wealth coming from oil, cattle farming and the medical industry. Torin gambled that an upscale store in the area would draw many of the townʼs wealthy, potential customers. With the help of some high ceilings, lots of light, maple floors, and a Texas-sized vase of flowers, he did it — creating a store with genuine “curb appeal”, and shows the true potential of the strip-mall format.

How long have you been at this address?

We are going into our 10th year here in Victoria, Texas, which is conveniently located about 100 miles from Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Corpus Christi.

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What would you say is the most unique feature of the store?

The center island. It was part of the original store plan, but we completed the island years later as we grew in to a more inventory. We didnʼt have the space to put in walk-behind display cases, so we opted for a large wood riser surrounded by six cherry wood cases. On top of the riser is a tall green vase with silk flowers that are four to five feet tall. The arrangement reaches up to the recessed ceiling — which is illuminated with fluorescent and can lighting to create the appearance of a sky light. The center island is such a strong visual center for the store that jewelry designers who know our store vie for display case space in that area.

Describe the interior of the store.

The store has many traditional, yet contemporary, design features that come together to create the overall appeal of a boutique. First, thereʼs the intimately-sized sales floor and the warm wood throughout the store. Not many jewelry stores have wood floors throughout, but our maple wood floors have a clear finish that brings out the quality and warmth of the wood. Weʼve also got a green slate marble floor by the front door and foyer. The display cases are made of cherry wood and have stainless steel frames with reinforced glass. The high ceiling ranges from 14 feet in the entryway and foyer to 10 feet on the sales floor and back up to 14 feet in the island area. We wanted to create a ceiling that looked like it was floating on air. The entryway has a lovely arch and so we duplicated that look with arched doorways on the interior for added dramatic effect. For the color scheme, we selected gray for a neutral colored interior that wouldnʼt distract from the beauty of the jewelry. The walls have a plaster effect to make it look like stone. Recessed reveals also give an appearance of panels, but itʼs really a flat wall. All of the reveals line up with the meeting points of the display cases.

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Any specific requirements in converting the building into a jewelry store?

The store is an end-unit in a 12-store strip mall. We moved in when the store was a shell, and the first thing that had to be done was to pour an additional two feet of concrete for the safe. Also, weʼre the only store in the strip mall that has a different exterior. For a small store, 2,400 sq-ft with a 1,000 sq-ft sale floor, we have an awful lot of light. We wanted a store that is well-illuminated with “soft lighting”, so we have 76 fluorescent tubes along with many can lights to create a backlit effect.

How much did it cost to set up your store?

The total cost to complete this store was just $300,000 and was absolutely worth it. I was very nervous about investing so much money in an upscale store for a small town. But as it came together, I knew it would work.

How do people usually react to the store?

One word … “Wow!” To this day, even suppliers weʼve been dealing with for years canʼt believe such an upscale store is in such a small town. They also say the store looks as good today as it did 1994 when we opened our doors. The only thing I do to upgrade the look of the store is a fresh coat of paint on the walls once a year — thatʼs it!

What do you like most about the store? and least?

One of my favorite features is that it is similar to a boutique — not too large and free from the interference of gift-y items. This allows us to focus all of our attention on what we love the most, jewelry! My only concern, however, is that one day we may outgrow our beautiful little space.

How does the design of the store fit in with the jewelry you sell?

The design of the store is like the jewelry and watches we sell: top notch. Iʼm a firm believer in “curb appeal” — if people feel good about a store when they see it from the curb, itʼs a good reflection on the type of merchandise inside. And our store has curb appeal.

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