Just off County Road 145, in the small West Texas town of Claytonville, Texas, is Street Community Gin. Street Community Gin normally produces around 30,000 bales of cotton and is run by husband and wife, Barry and SuDe Street. Like many small town gins, Street Community Gin also serves as a local hang out for some of the residents with two owners who are very involved in cotton on both ends of the spectrum.
Barry began working for his father and uncle when he was ten years old. His family farmed 4,000 acres of land in the Claytonville area. Unlike typical children, Barry saved every penny he earned so that he could afford a college education. When it was time for Barry to go to college the choice was easy-Texas Tech. The Streets come from a long line of Red Raiders.
Both of Barry’s sisters and his brother went to Texas Tech along with most of their children and SuDe is a third generation Texas Tech graduate.
During summer and Christmas breaks Barry would move back home to work alongside his father and uncle.
“My brother and I would work for them (father and uncle) during summer or Christmas break,” he said. “It’s how I put myself through college.”
After Barry graduated from Texas Tech in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics he moved back home and began farming on 320 acres of land. Barry farmed cotton for ten years before buying the Street Community Gin in 1988.
They had bought the gin from a man named Bobby Flick who had owned it for 7 years before selling to the Streets. You can still find Bobby Flick playing dominoes with many other Claytonville locals in the backroom of the Street Community Gin office every Saturday, if not every day. Claytonville does not have much to offer, making Street Gin one of the main attractions.
“All Claytonville is, is five or six houses, a church and a gin,” explains Barry
Since Claytonville is so small all of the kids in town go to Kress ISD. Street Gin has been very active in the Kress ISD FFA and 4-H programs helping to pay premiums for students to raise livestock. Once the Streets bought the gin SuDe left her teaching job and began working in the office as co-owner next to her husband Barry. Although SuDe enjoys spending her time working next to Barry she will admit that the most difficult thing she must deal with is that Barry is in charge.
“When we’re here at the gin, he’s the boss,” SuDe said with a chuckle.
When the ginning season is in full swing (October to mid-January) Barry is forced into working long hours including night and weekends. When the gin is in its off-season Barry spends most of his time farming.
“I enjoy cotton,” said Barry, “I like raising cotton.”
Even though SuDe is co-owner, she is not a big fan of the long hours her husband must put in during the ginning season.
“One of the hardest parts about running a gin is that everything in your life is on hold, football games, funerals, you name it,” said SuDe.
After twenty-two long cotton ginning seasons the Streets still share the same passion for cotton as they do each other. This is what makes the Streets Genuine.