January 15, 2011 in Washington Voices

Bead shop renewing itself

New next-door location for longtime business
Jennifer Larue, Jlarue99@Hotmail.Com

Beyond Beads Gallery owner/artist Jody Young, left, and store manager Summer Melaas are celebrating 17 years of business. The store specializes in fine beadwork, kits, beads and supplies, and is moving into a remodeled and smaller space next door at 12019 E. Sprague Ave., just west of Pines and Sprague across from the Thrifty Scotsman.
(Full-size photo)

Fast facts

What: Beyond Beads

Where: 12019 E. Sprague Ave. (same location, different numbers)

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Contact: (509) 891-8653; beyondbeads.com

Change is inevitable; how we see it makes all the difference. Jody Young is embracing the changes she faces. Refusing to accept this so-called “recession,” Young isn’t “downsizing,” she’s “regrouping” and “renewing,” making her Beyond Beads store at 12021 E. Sprague Avenue smaller and cozier but still a “home of inspiration and creative minds.”

Young was born and raised in Spokane. She graduated from Shadle Park High School in 1977 and then worked for her father, traveling as a medical equipment sales person. “My dad was an entrepreneur. My parents taught me that your dreams can come true if you believe and work hard.”

Beading since she was in junior high school, Young decided that beads were her passion and she opened Beyond Beads about 17 years ago at Pines Street and Eighth Avenue.

Change came a couple of years later, instigated by two break-ins. “I broke down and cried,” Young said. “I almost quit then and there but there are blessings in everything.”

Instead, she moved to a larger and more secure location where she still is today. In 2003, she expanded, taking over the space next door to include clothing and gifts which, again, suffered at the hands of criminals. “It was a shoplifter’s heaven,” she recalled, “I was constantly finding empty hangers.”

She slowly got rid of the clothing and most of the gift items, focusing on beading and her own artistic endeavors. She gained a following and has sold her work in Maui, California, Oregon and Western Washington. Her work has been recognized in half a dozen national magazines. Specializing in raised texture, her work is sculptural in nature and includes shells, coral, pearls, stone, glass, crystal and other natural elements.

Now, in 2011, she is faced with change yet again. Her lease was up and, experiencing the fickle economy, Young decided to remain open for her local customers but move everything to the space she expanded into in 2003. The wall she tore down seven years ago will go back up and she will have a new front door. Believing the saying that “when a door closes, somewhere a window opens,” Young is excited and ready. “It’s a brand-new start,” she said. Her new space will allow her to save on rent and “housecleaning” will allow her to bring in new and exciting things.

Young’s appreciation for her customers and staff keep her motivated but so does her simple belief that art, in whatever form, is important to communities. Store manager Summer Melaas agrees. “It brings people together.” Melaas met Young after the second break-in at Pines and Eighth. Young was crying and Melaas asked if she was OK. Young looked up and offered Melaas a job and they have been a team ever since. Melaas teaches many of the classes offered at Beyond Beads.

Changes will include getting on board with the social media thing. When Young opened 17 years ago, the Internet wasn’t around, and she has fought it for years. She does have websites but she will renew that as well to include Facebook and a blog. She will do Internet sales, have wholesale programs, guest teachers, bead challenges and bead exchanges.

Beyond Beads’ grand re-opening and completion will be Feb. 5, just in time for its annual Super Day Sale for those who don’t watch the Super Bowl.

One thing that won’t change is Young’s passion for what she does. “I believe that we are all artists in one way or another, and all you have to do is explore your passion.”

Are you opening a new business in the Greater Spokane Valley? Is your business expanding, moving or remodeling? Are you wondering about that new store that has opened in your neighborhood? Send an e-mail to Voices editor Jeff Jordan at jeffj@spokesman.com.

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