There is exactly one bead store that is within a reasonable distance from my home. A Cute Bead has been open for eight years and, I am ashamed to say, last weekend was my first trip through their doors. It is definitely a cute shop with lots of variety and a bright personality.
I usually purchase all of my beads at wholesale prices, keeping my cost down so I can reflect the savings in the finished product. When I do go to bead shops, I end up purchasing items for much more than the wholesale price I normally pay. However, the experience of touching the beads and seeing the vibrant colors in person is so valuable to my creative juices. (Plus, I’m all for supporting the local small business whenever possible.)
To be honest, I went in hopes of finding a ‘Help Wanted’ sign placed conveniently in the window, just for me. Well, no such luck. In fact, I spoke to the owner for a bit and found that she is struggling to make ends meet. She is facing many of the same problems I had with my store… little traffic, small purchases, low class attendance. I wish I could offer a magic wand of beadiful success to her and her lovely business.
I did end up purchasing a few things from her. I got a small amount of cup chain for a semi-specific project that I have in mind, and I bought two colors of size 11/0 triangles. My subconscious bead brain is currently formulating an awesome reversible bracelet using these lovely triangle bits.
My best wishes go out to A Cute Bead in Menomonie, WI. It truly is a lovely shop with a delightful owner. I will make a point to stop in when I can, and I promise, I’ll do my best not to drool on the beads.