This is the first review of a bead store I've done, but certainly not the first bead store I've been to. Now this type of store is tricky to run, no doubt about it. A staggering number of tiny items to organize and price, a wide array of packaging (strings, loose, vials...) and the needs of customers are all daunting challenges. For me the most important thing as a shopper is that the method of selection is easy and intelligent. It is also one of the first places that many shops fall short. How many bead stores have you been in where you feel like you must pass some sort of test in order to begin your shopping? Some beads can be removed by customers, others can't, beads must be marked on sheets, or put in bags with tiny slips of paper, strings of beads are out of reach and can't even be seen properly. Sadly, I could go on forever.
Mana Beads in Nevada City, CA takes care of that with and ingeniously has muffin tins with little paper cups in each reservoir. Now the truly great part; each reservoir is marked with a price so you can simply stroll along and plop each bead into the appropriate cup in the reservoir. Beautiful! When you get the counter, they take the cup out and pour your beads into bags. The great many beads are all clearly marked and very reasonably priced. I was so impressed with their prices that I went absolutely kibby and rang up quite a bill. But it was a lot for my money.
A large selection of strung beads hangs on the walls behind the loose beads and all are clearly marked with both the price and the number of beads per strand. All are easily accessible by the customer and neatly arranged by color family, as are the loose beads. When you find a strand you want, you simply unhook it and bring it to the counter to cut off the hook. Easy and the same for all strands, whether semi precious or glass.
Which brings me to selection. They shine in this category. They have a variety of shapes, sizes, colors and finishes. Their selection of findings, wire and chains is quite good as well. They have most any metal you could want, allowing for greater creativity. I bought gunmetal, silver and copper findings, all at very reasonable prices. Even with this great assortment, the shop is not overwhelming. It's cozy and inviting.
The owners are inviting as well. A class was beginning in the back while we were there and I could overhear the students being offered tea and other refreshments. We were made to feel at home and welcome to browse, which is refreshing.
Nevada City is a wonderful place for a weekend getaway and popular with Sacramentoans for just that. Crisp mountain air, a cute town that hasn't let its character erode and great B&Bs make it a fun place to visit, but if you're nowhere nearby, Mana Beads has a very respectable website as well. I highly recommend them!
3 years ago