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Business built on a base of beads

Back in 1989 Pat Page had a dream – to establish and operate the very best bead store in Calgary.
bead store
Angie and Pat Page own and operate Beads and Plenty More in Bonavista Mall. Photo by Sarah Junkin

Back in 1989 Pat Page had a dream – to establish and operate the very best bead store in Calgary.

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Beads and Plenty More has indeed established itself not just as the home of the city’s largest selection of beads, but as a meeting place for jewellery makers of every description.

At that time, when Pat decided to leave behind a career at Revenue Canada to pursue her dream, her daughter Angie Page was only 10 years old. Today she is at the helm of the busy store located in the city’s southeast Bonavista Mall.

In the early days when inventory was limited, Pat says she had to find creative ways to display her beads.

“Some trays were filled in multiple spots with the same bead so the store looked full,” she laughs.

That’s not the case today where beads of every description including, glass, wood, seedbeads, charms and semi-precious stones sparkle and shine over every inch of the colourful, spacious store.

Pat and Angie attribute part of their success to the fact that as jewellery trends have evolved, so has their business.

“Thirty years again we had lots of plastic beads, but they’re not so popular anymore,” says Pat.

At one time the mother-daughter duo also ran a second store in the north part of the city, but that’s been replaced with a busy on-line store featuring a dizzying array of not only beads, but stringing materials, kits and tools.

And if for the less artistic of us, this all may seem intimidating, that needn’t be the case. Pat and Angie offer a wide selection of classes that cater to every level of aptitude, age and level of experience.

“We’re always trying to come up with ideas for new classes," says Angie, adding their basic two-hour classes to make earrings are very popular. But the pair also offer instructional classes in macramé bracelets, Christmas balls, netted collar necklaces, and pearl knotting to name but a few.

“We evolve as styles change,” explains Pat. “Bracelets are the most popular thing right now, I think because (the wearer) can actually see it. It’s gratifying to know you made it yourself.”

This time of year is particularly busy for Beads and Plenty More with people preparing to make Christmas decorations, gifts and building their inventory for upcoming Christmas craft sales. Indigenous jewellery makers also comprise a large component of Beads and Plenty More’s wide customer base.

But Pat says almost all of her customers have one thing in common.

“When they come in here, they’re happy, happy, happy because they are all here to do something they love,” she says. “And we’re here because we love it too.”

Beads and Plenty More is located at 755 Lake Bonavista Drive, Unit 163. For the online store, visit www.bedsandplentymore.ca.