Saturday, October 05, 2019

Beader's Paradise

Heading up to Yellowstone this weekend a road sign enticed us to detour through Blackfoot, Idaho to check out the Idaho Potato Museum. From the museum, instead of hopping back on the highway, we continued our way north on the road less traveled. Driving up this country road through potato farmland I spied this great big cowgirl sign. I though the sign was cool, but it was the words that really caught my eye. "Beader's Paradise" Whoa cowgirl! This glass bead maker had to stop and turn around to see what that was all about. It was a bead store, all by itself in the middle of potato country. Truly a beader's paradise; the crowded space was brimming with beads: gallon jars full of brightly colored seed beads, bags of color coordinated bead mixes, trade beads, vintage glass beads, teeny tiny micro beads and some beads in styles I’d not seen before. Stringing supplies. Cases and cases and racks of beads! Quite the interesting find on country road in rural southeast Idaho.

I was pretty interested in how, in a day and age where most of the stand alone bead shops I have known have long been shuttered, this gem of a shop, smack dab in the in the middle of nowhere, actually exists. So I asked the proprietor what the backstory was.

She told us that the shop has been in business for 56 years. Way back then her parents were in a square dance group that needed costumes. Problem was that Blackfoot was small, so none of the shops carried enough of the same apparel to outfit the group in matching outfits. So they started ordering western wear for the group. Problem with that was that the needed to order the clothing in multiples of twelves, so they decided to open a western wear shop to sell the extras. They also began embellishing the western wear with beads. The beads were a hit with their Native American friends, who at the time in 1960's Idaho, were, by law, not permitted to try on clothes or boots in the Blackfoot stores. The store owners became weary of selling clothing, and switched their inventory all over to beads, and the Beaders Paradise was born.

Sadly, this last hold out in a world of disappearing bead shops won't be around forever, the owner is ready to retire. As it is they are only open one day a week. I'll have to find an excuse to go back, sometime when I have more time shop, I'm sure I missed treasures. I did however, find some glass crow beads I've been searching for for a project I've been wanting to do! Lucky me. It's always nice to be so pleasantly reminded of why I enjoy taking the road less travelled!

addendum ... After typing up the story of origins of the shop as it was told to me, I went a googling and found an even more complete history here!