DALLAS–LaVon Barnes, a former retail buyer whose sharp product development instincts led her to create her own sourcing company, The Prime Source, passed away on March 21 from complications of cancer. She was 58.
Barnes began her career in retail buying offices. She first worked as a buyer at Sanger Harris (Federated) in Dallas. She then served as a buyer at Lord & Taylor for two years, and then as a buyer for Tuesday Morning for three years, until 1992. As a buyer, she would often suggest slight changes or alterations to products before committing to an order of 50,000 of them, her husband, Jay Barnes, said. “She had a wealth of knowledge and a taste level, and she knew what the market wanted,” he said. She was so knowledgeable about product that he encouraged her to go into product sourcing and development herself. She founded The Prime Source, an overseas sourcing and product development company headquartered in Dallas, in April 1992.
“She stuck her toe in the water and it exploded,” Barnes said of his wife’s business. With a staff of five and a focus on the end user, The Prime Source supplies a wide range of retail customers that span all retail channels of distribution, including some major specialty and department stores. “She was invited to sit in on planning meetings because she was very good at coming up with ideas [to fit merchandising themes]. She fought like the devil for her customers to get the price right,” Barnes said. The Prime Source will celebrate its 22nd anniversary on Monday.
Barnes had an outgoing personality and a wide circle of colleagues and friends, Barnes said. “It was like following behind a rock star,” when the couple went out anywhere, he said, because LaVon would be stopped by friends and well-wishers wherever she went. “She was full of life and fun,” Barnes said. “She took a big slice out of life.”
A Celebration of the Life of LaVon Barnes will be held on Saturday, April 12 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at the Unity Church of Dallas, 6601 Forest Lane, Dallas, followed by a brunch at the same location. All are welcome, Barnes said. For further details, call Jay Barnes at 214-763-7746.