Another casualty of the bad winter, or my trip to the bead shop

Yesterday, I mentioned that I was going to head up to the bead shop in Bangor after I finished taxes.

I did, and got there at 4:45 to see a big sign on the door about “new hours” as a result of “survey results”. The shop is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday Sunday, never before ten, never after four.  Clearly they did not survey working people for these new hours, but OK.  So this morning when we got up I convinced A that she needed to drive me to Bangor. It involved letting her go to Lowe’s for some wooden flooring things she wants, and Millers for some long underwear, and Dunkin Donuts for breakfast.  All stops I could live with, as I have knitting.  🙂

We went to DD first, that way she could relax in the car while I ran into the bead store to choose 2 tubes of beads.  I needed 16 size 6 beads and 100 size 8 beads that coordinate with each other and look good with the harvest/antique gold silk Mom chose for these earrings.  I thought it would take a few minutes to find some that looked good with the silk, and each other, AND were available in both sizes.  Essentially a quick trip, in and out.

This store is a locally owned shop, very unique , which is, of course, why I like it.  First thing you do when you arrive is give treats to the 4 dogs who won’t let you in unless you do.  Very friendly, but under foot.  Then, I headed right over to the seed bead wall.  While I was scoping things out, the (somewhat excessively) chatty shop owner told me that they soon will be closing the physical shop.


It has been a horribly slow winter, she only had 2 people shopping yesterday.  She will try to stay open until June, then will “take it on the road” and just do “shows” whatever the heck that means.  I am so bummed, because the quality of her things is miles above what is available in the big box stores.  Her seed beads are uniform in size and color, and there are NEVER any sharp edges or plugged holes. Naturally, I asked her for the brand name so I can find them after she is gone (and she shared!  Miyuki), but there is nothing like shopping in person, seeing what things really look like.

It also turns out she was offering a 20% discount on purchases this month.

I think you know what happened.

beth's earrings

What I came for:  called “forest mix”, the beads have a touch of gold glimmer in greens with a few that are bluer or oranger in nature.  They look great with the gold silk. I looked at rustier beads, thinking a soft matte finish might be nice, but she didn’t have both sizes, so I went with the green.

peach beads

Restocking some old favorites – the soft peach shimmer is hard (for me) to photograph, but trust me, they look really wonderful on cream silk, like these earrings. I was glad she had these on hand, she is often out of one or the other.

black and gold beads

Matte black and clear with gold lining – two that I use a lot when making the Rippled necklace in all sorts of colors.

Last – an unplanned purchase – sort of.  I have had this yarn in my stash for a while, but it slowly is moving up – it will be some sort of beaded lace shawl thing.

silky alpaca

I haven’t figured out the pattern, so had not worried about beads.  But then I saw these, and  I think the shimmer of pale lavender and gold. will work. What do you think? I just hope I have enough beads for whatever I finally decide, because there is no guarantee I will be able to get more. But I am clever, I can mix them with a coordinating color.  If I can find one.

blush beads

No local bead store. This is very sad. I know I don’t buy enough to keep anyone in business. but I do 95% of my bead purchases at locally owned shops. I am sure she wishes it was 95% of a larger number.  I can only do what I can.

Now, my nearest shop is in Augusta, which is more than an hour away. I guess I will check out the online sources, but I will really miss being able to see everything and put colors together and try different things that I never would think of if I didn’t see them in person.

17 thoughts on “Another casualty of the bad winter, or my trip to the bead shop”

    1. Absolutely. I understand how it happens, of course – there are three big box craft stores in that town – JoAnn’s, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby. I am amazed she has held on to her shop as long as she has. But still, she offers many things they don’t, and people apparently don’t value that as much as I would like.

  1. a shame that small businesses don’t also open on-line stores in parallel and try and keep up with the times. That way, they could reach people, far & wide, without having to resort to going on the road to shows, and still keep the local store up and running

    1. We talked about that – she said if she had done that 15 years ago, it might work, but now the internet is too big, and her prices aren’t going to be the cheapest. It seems that on the internet, people want cheap. But you are right, I would order from her happily online if it saved me a trip to Bangor.

  2. I agree with claire93. Small businesses need to have an online presence too in order to exist. I got all my Miyuki beads from the online store Fox Den. It’s like bead heaven and the colors are truly representative of what they look like in real life.

    1. It is true – but she isn’t willing or able to see that, so she kept to a small market share that knew about her and could get there in person. She needed stronger marketing and a bigger picture view. I need to research bead sources now – thanks for the Fox Den tip. 🙂

  3. Miyuki beads are super great. I try and get them when I can. My local bead shop also closed some time ago. Now I have to visit her at home for what I still need, if she still have stock.
    I have become dependent on shows and fairs for beads, and will always get some when I am out and about and able to.
    It is a shame, as we love our beads.
    You got some pretty cool stuff though, and I adore your yarn. Stunning. 🙂

    1. Thanks! I was talking to a friend of mine who makes jewelry, and she told me about a couple of mail order places. I have ordered catalogs. But it just isn’t the same as seeing the colors for real.

        1. So, should I just buy one of everything she has that I use, so I have color samples? lol probably not… but I will probably not be as creative if I can’t see that colors I never thought of look great with the yarn in my hand. Sigh.

  4. It’s such a shame when this happens to local businesses and you’re right, its so important to see and touch what you’re buying. But I have to agree with the comments above too, it’s not just about getting pushed out by the big boys being in town, small businesses need to move with the times. It’s the whole ‘Who moved my cheese?’ thing.

    1. I know – and this lady is not one to like her cheese being moved. I could have designed some marketing activities fro her, but I got the feeling that new ideas are not welcome, She is too far down the road on her decision.

      1. I know what you mean, sometimes there’s just no point wasting your time going there. What a shame.

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