The day started quite normal. It was a Holiday weekend where others go to the beach and sun, so we try to think what we can do to escape our little slice of paradise. We still don’t have any friends down here in our new home, so we picked a spot and decided to make a day trip of it all on our own.
Ocala, Florida is only an hour from our home and though I have driven through it on road trips, I had never stopped. My husband has done business here a few times in the last month and had spotted a book store (which are going the way of the Dodo) and the Holy Grail – a bead shop. Oooh.
So off on our Saturday adventure we went. A few yard sales later, we spent a glorious hour wandering the bookstore. You never know when they will all be gone.
But on to the meat of the day. The Bead Strand was a bead store I had never visited.
I experienced quite a few firsts when I ventured into this unassuming shop. The windows were darkened so I could not see in the shop before entering. The shop itself was located in an older strip mall off a busy state road.
Upon opening the door, the following hit me:
- The place was packed!
- There were beads everywhere!
- Everyone was smiling!
I am used to a Bead Shop where you may share the space with one or two other shoppers. Not so here, where at any time in the measly 30 minutes I was in the store, there were about 20 other people shopping.
I heard others being asked constantly if they needed help, if they were there for a class, if they were looking for anything in particular. I shied away from the bulk of the crowd and kept to myself to explore.
Space was limited. Beads covered every available surface, wall, table, and counter. At one point I got a bit claustrophobic and had to escape to the secondary room where you could find even more beads and materials. My husband abandoned me to the chaos after about 6 minutes. He did try to his credit.
There was a hearty selection of findings including gunmetal and coppers which I have been using a lot lately.
At first glance, prices were very high. After looking around I realized that like all shops, the prettiest stuff is the most expensive and draws your attention. I found entire six foot long tables in the back room full of strands of metal findings. They varied in price from $2 to $12. As in all venues, shop and you will find a good deal. There were little bins and bowls placed among the more expensive strands with either individual beads or lower prices strands.
From what I gleaned eavesdropping on the other conversations, this is a Class friendly shop. They had space set up in other rooms for classes. Every other person in the store was asking what beads were needed for that afternoon’s class. After checking out their website, there appear to be classes almost every day they are open, with Saturdays having two classes.
I managed to find quite a few pieces I simply could not leave the store without. And of course I have a few more that I may have to go back for next month.
If you find yourself in central Florida, this is a good shop to try out. Find them at:
6140 SW Highway 200, Ocala, FL 34476
Ask about their frequent buyer card while you are there,, but please don’t buy all the copper findings.
Now, I am off to make something with that red coral.