Bold, beautiful beads beckon at bigger store
A rekindled interest in homemade one-of-a-kind gifts and a new, expanded location are fueling one local entrepreneur’s success during rocky economic times.
Justine Jacus, 47 and mother of two, has been the owner of Beads Galore for 15 years. She recently moved her store from Maltman Drive to a location with double the square footage on Sutton Way, next to Flour Garden Bakery.
Tables brimming with brightly colored glass, semi-precious stone, shell, bone and pottery beads fill the store. Strands of turquoise, agate and coral hang from the walls.
Between Longs and Safeway, the touchable trinkets are attracting foot traffic and a whole new line of customers who have discovered the world of beads. Since the move a month and a half ago, the store has nearly doubled its sales, Jacus said.
With the additional space, Jacus is going beyond beads to offer workshops in collage picture frame, mosaics and crochet and knit classes. A staple array of beading and free form wiring classes for the beginner to the experienced jewelry maker are still options.
“The bead classes are booming, but I’d like to go further with it,” Jacus said.
Glass bead making and silver smithing also are on the horizon in a classroom at the back of the store. Artists can show their pottery, felted bags, retro furniture and designer jewelry in the store’s artisan gallery.
“I’m looking for artisans to teach and artists to sell their wares,” Jacus said.
Jacus has always been her own boss, starting from the time she sold home-sewn bikinis with her girlfriends on the beaches of Waikiki. By the time she was in her 20’s, she was running four yogurt and coffee shops in San Francisco.
“I’ve been an entrepreneur my whole life. I’ve never worked for someone else. I’ve always done my own thing,” Jacus said.
Then she decided to slow down and get out of the city. She moved to Nevada County, where her mother lived, and opened her bead store on Maltman Drive, in Grass Valley.
Jacus is also the owner of Scotchbroom, a women’s clothing store on Commercial Street in Nevada City. While the economy has forced some people to conserve by spending less money on clothes, people also have learned they can make a Sundance style necklace or earrings for a fraction of the cost.
“I think people are making more of their gifts. I think people would rather receive something you made,” Jacus said.
Others are re-stringing their grandmother’s pearls into something more modern.
“Beads come from all over the world. I buy all year long. I look for unusual, new color, new shapes. I like semi-precious, but who doesn’t?” Jacus said.
Large chunky pieces with saturated colors are what’s in now, Jacus said.
“Like all your jewel tones. People are wanting more color,” Jacus said.
A table located in the center allows customers to sit down and bead their creations in-house.
“You can sit down and do your own if you need some instruction,” she said. “I think one of the things we’re known for is customer service. That’s huge with me,” Jacus said.
To contact Staff Writer Laura Brown, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4231.
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