Support Your Local Bead Store.

Q: I am a small, but well stocked bead store with a reminder to all of you that are lucky enough to have a bead store in your area. The huge bead stores are great, but they are becoming the 'Wal-Marts' of the bead world. Every time you buy your beads from an out-of-town source you make it that much harder for a small shop to stay in business, and I have seen this happen many, many times lately. It breaks my heart when I spend endless hours stocking, packaging, and working on adding a new line of beads, and then have an area person go out of town and buy the same thing, often at a higher price.

A: Why not carry beads that the big stores don't carry? I've been looking for some unusual beads for quite a while now, and everywhere I look, the big catalogs all have the same selection of predictable beads in identical predictable colors. I know unusual beads exist, because I've seen them at shows and in other people's jewelry. Don't compete with the big boys. Offer something they don't, or can't. Specialize! Also, why not consider getting your shop "wired" as well? It's possible you have something that the rest of us want, but it's too far to drive to NC. Put your inventory in a mail order catalog, flyers, or better still, online for all to see. Good suggestion! I live within 45 minutes of New York City, where I can buy beads at wholesale prices; however, I will still spend money at my local retail beadstore, because she often has things I've never seen elsewhere. For instance, my two favorite purchases from her were tiny, beautifully faceted 'Carnelian' beads, and fancy carved leopardskin 'Jasper' goldfish, with a lovely pinkish hue. I also own a bead store, and one of my customers just started ordering by catalog. She still comes in occasionally as I do have beads that she cannot find in catalogs, or needs an emergency piece. I really work hard to keep my prices comparable to those in the retail catalogs, and even give a break when a customer is buying in bulk, but if many of my customers keep doing this, I will not be here when they really need me. Thanks to those who think of their local bead store first. If you can get it cheaper through a catalog, ask about pricing, and think about the shipping fees. I live in the Greensboro also, and I can vouch for 'Lost & Found's' beads. In a store about the size of an average living room, she packs in a LOT of beads, glass, bone, stone, metal, etc. I haven't had time to drop by there lately (I've been working on a local convention), but I will probably go by later this week (time for all that Christmas beading!). For anyone going through the area on I-40 or I-85, it is well worth the trip. Unfortunately, 'Anne' can't always open, so if you want to go, call (336)-271-6954 first and make sure she's there. However, she has the only bead store in town, actually in the whole Triad.