I've been searching for the perfect bead store for several years. I have visited some that come very close but most of the time I'm completely disappointed. First of all...to all owners of beading supply stores, you cannot stock only the most commonly used components. For example, I was in a beading store the other day that only stocked 8 mm beads. WTF? Who even thinks that is a good idea?
If I were running a bead store, I would understand that each beader is different. They like using different techniques. They are attracted to different colors, sizes and materials. Therefore, in order to run a "great" bead store, you have to stock all kinds of things. You need sterling silver and gold wire. You need memory wire. You need craft wire in all colors. You need wire gauges from 14 to 38 and you need hard, 1/2 hard and dead soft in each. You need copper wire. You need silver plated wire. You need every crystal every made and all types and sizes and colors of seed beads. You need high quality and special cuts of gem stones. You need faceted gem stones. You need silver findings, silver plated finding, gold findings, copper findings, brass findings. You need Czech Fire Polished beads. You need beading wire. You need thread, needles, and crochet hooks. You need tools. You need everything that can possibly be used to create a handmade masterpiece.
If you approach your beading store with this in mind, I promise you, we will all come. We'll drive extra miles to get to you and spend more money that we have ever spent anywhere else. I'm currently living in Baltimore and I have been looking for this type of bead store for almost one year. It just doesn't exist around here. This is a constant source of grief for me and is probably responsible for my grumpier days.
If you are lucky enough to have a great bead store near your home, please let me know where it is. Brag on them. I would like to visit it. I've been known to drive great distances to visit good stores.
I'll share just one more WTF moment I had at a beading store in Baltimore. The back wall was loaded with gemstone beads of all sizes and types. However, it was behind a counter and they won't let you have access to it. If you tell them which strand you are interested in, they will show it to you but you are not allowed to touch them. How can you buy beads without touching them? It is physically impossible for me to buy without touching.