Thursday, 04 April 2013 14:42

Bead Store Closing After 18 Years in Saratoga Springs

By Patricia Older | News

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Beads have always been a part of Linda Schrade’s life, so much so, that when she was thinking about opening a business almost 20 years ago, it was almost a given beads would be a part of it. 

“My Grandma Schrade, she lived most of her life in Saratoga and she had a love of beads, so beads have always been a part of my life,” said Schrade, adding that as a mom new to the Spa City, she wanted to open a shop that would be lighthearted and full of joy, something she could share with her young daughter. 

“I wanted a business that involved kids,” said Schrade, whose daughter was six years old at the time. “I wanted her to be with me and I wanted her to be happy and I wanted a space where the young and old could be together and have fun.”

Saratoga Beads fit the bill.  

Schrade, who said she “never thought for a moment [the business] would fail,” opened Saratoga Beads on July 7, 1995. She will close the doors to her shop in late May after 18 years of brightening the creative lives of young and old alike. She plans to move to Maine to spend time with her daughter. 

While not much has changed for Saratoga Beads over the years, Schrade said her store carries a variety of beads including bone, glass, wooden, semi-precious and plastic. 

“I didn’t use to carry a lot of crystals,” said Schrade, “But I do now—bling is in and it is what people wanted.”

She also has one of the best collections of seed beads. Schrade admits she was able to build up what she offered over the years, amassing a vast array of choices. Those choices, she said, can be intimidating to customers. 

“If you have a hard time making choices, you could be here all day, while others know exactly what they want,” said Schrade. “I tell them to pick a color and then 90 percent of the shop falls away.”

Schrade said one aspect of her business that has changed over the years is that many clients coming into her store want to have small pieces of jewelry repaired. 

“People love that they can come in here and change the length of an item, a clasp or clip-on earrings to pierce,” said Schrade. “We can help them do the repair—but many are asking us to just do it for them.”

Continuing, she said teaching people to tune into their inner creative selves has been one of the biggest challenges of her shop. 

“Many people do not think of themselves as creative,” said Schrade. “We try to tell them everyone has creative bones.”

As for whether she got what she initially went after, Schrade admits she did. 

“I love meeting the kids—they are so cool,” said Schrade, who has kept a scrapbook full of drawings given to her by children who visited the shop. “They are just beginning their lives and I love that I am part of their memories and their lives.”

She said that building something from beads in the shop is not necessarily expensive. 

“You don’t need to come in here with a pocket full of money,” said Schrade. “You can make something really nice for five dollars.” 

Continuing, Schrade said that people also like that they can spend an hour or all day working on a piece, but that when they are done, they leave feeling good. 

“If someone comes in here sad, by the time they leave, they feel good about themselves,” said Schrade. 

As for her new adventure in life, Schrade said she is ready for the move to Maine to be closer to her daughter. 

“This has been a very difficult decision,” she said. “I am going to miss the people and Saratoga, but I need a new adventure. Being near my daughter and being near the ocean is important to me – I miss them both.” 

As for whether she’ll open a similar shop where she is heading, Schrade said she is ready to take life a little slower, but that she will never be finished with beads. 

“I will always have beads in my life,” she said.

Saratoga Beads is located at 80 Henry Street. From now until mid-May, the store is having a sale. They are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturday, 12–5 p.m.

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