Thirteen years ago, Lydia Stern quit her job with U.S. Airways, withdrew her 401K and opened a bead store. Was it risky? Definitely. Does she regret it? Not for a second.
Beadlush has been offering beads, crafting supplies and classes to the people of Plaza Midwood since 2003.
But on March 20, Beadlush will be closing their doors and moving all merchandise online. If you’re wondering how customers feel about this, here are a few comments from their announcement on Facebook.
Located in an old church across from the Central Avenue Harris Teeter, Beadlush is a crafter’s dream. If you’ve never been there, it’s the kind of store where you can’t help yourself from touching every thing that you walk by.
From gemstones to miniature fork charms, Beadlush has everything you can possibly put on a string and wear on your body (legally).
But my favorite part about the shop isn’t the merchandise; it’s the fact that Lydia (with the help of her cat, Mao) didn’t try to hide aspects of the space she’s in. She instead highlighted the old church by displaying consignment items on the altar and even using the pews for her crafting classes.
So why is Beadlush closing? The church is for sale for a cool mil (do people still say that?) and although no one has bought it yet, Lydia and her beads are getting kicked out. Apparently this is due to some sort of legal battle, and now we need Jason Thomas to use his nosiness to find out more information.
But despite what happens in court, Plaza Midwood will still be left craft-store-less.
I’m bummed about this for three reasons:
(1) I was really excited to take a beading class so I could give my friends jewelry and make them think that it was from Anthropologie and that I spent a lot of money on them.
(2) What are the chances that the new buyer will keep the church as-is? I have a hunch that the church and surrounding trees will be bulldozed and a new apartment complex will go up in its place. But trust me, I’d love to be proven wrong on this.
(3) Finally, and most importantly, Siri pronounces “Beadlush” in a hilarious, satanic way. Never again will we be able to put this destination in our GPSes and be entertained for miles and miles.
I asked Lydia about what is most disappointing about closing Beadlush for her. And, surprisingly, her answer did not include Siri’s hilarious pronunciation of her store name.
Lydia: The most disappointing thing is that I have to let go of my employees. They are like family. I have been very fortunate with employees over the years. (Side note: She will not be letting go of all of her employees. Mao the cat will stay on as the role of cat.)
Me: Is the crafting industry strong in Charlotte?
Lydia: The DIY and crafters here are very strong and tight-knit. As far as opening a crafting business, it’s pretty hard. When I first opened there was virtually no online shopping. People had to come out to see, feel, touch and get ideas. But now people would rather order online.
Me: Will it hurt sales that you’ll only have merchandise online?
Lydia: Definitely. Especially since my whole store is an impulse buy. But, saying that, I would like to find another space where I can have a smaller amount of items and do classes. It just won’t be in Plaza Midwood.
Me: What can Charlotte do to help keep small businesses like yours alive?
Lydia: They keep putting up these residential buildings and I really do hope that more of them have retail because we’re going to have so many people and have nowhere for them to go. We need more opportunities for more business people. I keep hearing that they want to make Charlotte a strong walking community but you need things for people to walk to, besides bars. You can only drink so much!
Me: I don’t totally agree with that statement, but understand your point.
On the bright side, Lydia will be having a ton of crazy sales in March. Sign up for the Beadlush newsletter to stay updated on where she’s holding classes and if/when she’s moving to a new space. In the meantime you can still order online.
After my conversation with Lydia, I was left with one very important question: How the heck is she going to pack up all these beads?
The answer was simple: A crazy amount of Ziploc baggies.