For Cindi Shepherd, beading has always been a part of her life.
“I’ve been a beader and crafter all my life,” she said. “I’d use grass for string while playing in the backyard at my aunt’s house, and make necklaces for my dolls and myself.”
Cindi and her husband, Steve, recently became owners of Beach Beads and More in Surfside Beach, a retailer Cindi often frequented during her trips from North Carolina to the Grand Strand.
“We’ve owned property here for 9 years. We recently retired and decided to come live here,” Cindi said.
The shop owner enjoyed visiting Beach Beads while on vacation each year, even taking classes with former store owner Heather Samson during her trips. Cindi was actually coming to shop with a Christmas gift certificate when she learned that Samson planned to close Beach Beads and relocate to Charlotte, N.C.
“I’d always dreamed of being retired and coming here as much as I wanted,” Cindi said of the store. “So I asked, ‘Have you ever thought of selling?’”
On Nov. 1, 2020, the Shepherds became the official store owners.
Cindi has built up inventory, from macrame supplies to seed beads and everything in between. As a former assistant school teacher, she enjoys teaching classes for children, elderly adults, and all who are eager to learn.
“You watch their eyes light up when they see they can do this,” she said. “Once you learn the basics, you can take it and move forward with it. It’s good, clean fun, learning a new skill and taking it home with you.”
Classes are currently offered on an on-demand basis for families and small groups. The Shepherds hope to host beading birthday parties at the store as COVID restrictions for gatherings lift.
Beach Beads and More offers jewelry repair as well, which Cindi said is “emotional and rewarding to me.”
“People are broken when their jewelry is broken, especially family treasures. It’s so special to them when they can use it again,” she said.
Steve has helped construct displays throughout the store and runs the register.
“He’s learned so much about beading,” Cindi said of her husband. “He knows what a jump ring is and a lobster claw.”
The couple is grateful to all the loyal Beach Beads customers who have come back during their vacations, along with the new customers that have discovered the store in recent months.
“We have met so many wonderful people,” Cindi said. “They’ve given me so much encouragement and support.”
With many bead and craft stores closing across the United States, the couple believes their shop is more important to the community than ever.
“Beaders need to see the colors in person and feel the beads, to pick them up and look at them,” Cindi said.
For those shoppers who are far away, though, Beach Beads does offer online sales and can assist via phone as well.
The store sells several ready-made jewelry pieces made by world-class beaders, including Cindi Shepherd, and gift items such as wooden ornaments and macrame wall hangings. Beach Beads offers something for every budget, and even has a bargain wall of beads and supplies for those looking for affordable, high quality supplies.
Beach Beads and More is at 1918 U.S. 17 Bus. Frontage Road. The store is open from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. For more information, call 843-839-9808 or visit scbeachbeads.com.