As the owner of the No. 1 fine jeweler in South Texas and the board president for the Gulf Coast Humane Society, Denny Bales proves every day that he has both a good head for business and a good heart for animals in need.
By Sarah Tindall
Photos by Dustin Ashcraft
Here’s what you learn after spending five minutes with Denny Bales: Purchasing a diamond can be a fun and interesting experience, because it can amount to a sometimes sizable investment. Therefore, it is very important that a customer feel totally comfortable with the person(s) and the store where he or she decides to buy.
“Buying a diamond is 50 percent knowledge (doing your homework) and the other 50 percent trust,” says Bales, adding that the one thing all customers have in common is the desire to get the best possible quality for the least possible price, so shopping around and comparing prices is typically a wise thing to do.
The other thing one learns after spending a few minutes with Bales is that he is a total animal lover who has dedicated his life to finding good and loving homes for all the dogs, cats, puppies and kittens who find themselves in residence at the Gulf Coast Humane Society.
But let’s go back to the diamonds. When asked what makes Denny Bales Diamonds different than other jewelry stores, Bales answers, “Our merchandise is totally different than any of our competition’s. Our goal is unique styling with the focus on quality and competitive pricing. This sets our store dramatically apart from the national chain stores.”
The average person shopping for a new diamond engagement ring finds him or herself shopping in the mall at one of the national chain jewelry stores – most likely motivated by the convenience of having several stores in the same location and easier credit standards. Bales explains that for the person who has done the homework and wants something different, where quality is of paramount importance, shopping at Denny Bales Diamonds will prove to be an unbeatable experience concerning quality, as well as price.
One of the questions that Bales says comes up from time to time is, “How much is a one-carat diamond?” Bales explains that the cut, clarity, color and carat weight of a stone will determine the price of every diamond, so a one-carat diamond can be purchased for anywhere from $500 to $30,000 or more.
“It’s our job to find the customer the best possible value that fits within their budget,” Bales says. “We are so confident in our quality and our pricing that we present every customer with the following challenge: Shop Denny Bales Diamonds first. Give us the opportunity to show you exactly what we can offer you that best fits your budget, and then shop around. If you can find something you like better that offers you better quality and a lesser price, buy it. Bring the item and the receipt to our store, and if we agree that it’s a superior buying opportunity, we’ll give you a $100 gift certificate to Katz 21, our favorite steakhouse.
“On the other hand, if you cannot find a superior buying opportunity and decide to buy your diamond from us, we’ll still present you with the $100 gift certificate to Katz 21 as our way of saying thank-you for accepting our challenge.”
So, at Denny Bales, customers know they are getting the best price and quality – but what about that so-called easy credit that the national chain jewelry stores offer? Denny Bales Diamonds offers interest-free financing with up to three years to pay depending on the amount of purchase.
“If someone reading this article is thinking of an anniversary or birthday gift involving diamonds – diamond earrings, diamond bracelets, diamond necklaces or diamond rings – we would encourage you to accept our challenge and shop us first,” Bales says. “If you are looking to get your loved one something different and quality is an important consideration, you owe it to yourself to accept our challenge of shopping us first before shopping the competition. Denny Bales Diamonds is the only fine jewelry store that is so comfortable with our values that we challenge you to shop around.”
After 32 years as Corpus Christi and South Texas’ No. 1 fine jeweler, the folks at Denny Bales Diamonds are very confident that their quality and price is simply unbeatable.
Now, let’s talk about homeless dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. Anyone who has seen Bales on television promoting fine jewelry knows that almost every commercial includes a promotion for adopting orphan animals from the Gulf Coast Humane Society. Bales has been president of the board of directors for the organization for the past 17 years, and he has developed a passion for finding all the homeless animals under the care of his shelter good and loving “forever” homes.
It all started 17 years ago, “when my wife and I lost our two beloved poodles in the same year; one was 16, and the other 14,” Bales says. “We were both very upset, and we both decided not to buy another dog from a breeder because of too many health complications resulting from inbreeding. We decided it would be best to see if Corpus Christi had a humane society so we could give a homeless dog a great home. We found a little black dog that was a Schipperke mix, and we named her Lexy.”
At that time, the Gulf Coast Humane Society was on Navigation and in poor condition, so Bales mentioned to the director that if they ever needed help, although he didn’t know anything about the running of a shelter, he could assist them with marketing and advertising. She replied that they did not have any marketing or advertising, that his help would be appreciated and that he could start ASAP.
Bales started an ad campaign on television that continues to this day. As president, he believes that the only effective way to be a board member is to actually participate at the shelter, so he spends five days a week at his store and the other two days at the shelter.
The adoption goal each month at the shelter is 100 quality adoptions. The adoption parents of each pet are carefully screened to ensure that the dog or cat they have selected is the right fit for the family. “It’s of paramount importance that folks adopting from the Gulf Coast Humane Society are adopting a ‘family member’ and not a dog or cat that is going to spend its life outside looking in,” Bales says. “The objective of the humane society is to find forever homes for each pet, like my own dogs, who are like family. They rest on the couches or chairs and sleep in the beds; they do not know that there is any other way of living.”
The Gulf Coast Humane Society is a no-kill shelter, where animals are cared for by a staff of 44 employees, which includes a complete pet hospital and veterinarian. The Bales family has six rescues from the shelter, including two Great Danes who arrived at the shelter heavy heartworm positive, very skinny and non-trusting of human companions. They now live the life of Riley on a couch in the office and a king-size bed at home and are television stars, frequently featured on the Bales commercials.
Bales’ newest project is horses that have been abused and seized by the sheriff. “A very wonderful, caring guy by the name of Tom Armstrong runs the Fallen Horse Rescue in Mathis, Texas,” Bales explains. “For the past three years, Tom has dedicated his life to saving horses that have been neglected, abused and left to starve.”
Armstrong has worked two fulltime jobs in order to keep his rescue up and running. Unfortunately, he had little or no help from others until one of his volunteers contacted Bales and asked if he could help her think of ideas for raising money for Fallen Horse Rescue. Bales and his business associate, who films and produces all the commercials for the humane society, and Denny Bales Diamonds decided to drive to Mathis.
“We wanted to see Tom’s operation and figure out how we might be of help,” Bales says. “We were so impressed with Tom and his rescue that we shot two 30-second commercials on the spot which are running at the time of this writing, successfully so far, with the idea of raising $25,000.”
Because Bales is committed to ensuring that this great rescue, like the humane society, continues to do its good work, he is currently raffling off a $10,000 ladies’ diamond ring. People can get involved by purchasing a book of raffle tickets or singles from Denny Bales Diamonds, the Gulf Coast Humane Society or the Value Bank on South Staples across from Denny Bales Diamonds.
“After we raise $25,000, we’ll ask our foundation to consider matching it, since this is an outreach for animals,” Bales says. “We are animal-friendly at Denny Bales Diamonds; I typically have two Great Danes in my office, and our official greeter is Dexter, a handsome black French Poodle. Our regular customers over the years have grown accustomed to our love and appreciation of our four-legged friends. That is something that will never change.
For more information about Denny Bales Diamonds, visit www.dennybalesdiamonds.com, stop by the store at 7009 South Staples St., Ste. 101, in Corpus Christi, or give them a call at 361-991-0300.