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New shop feeds the bead need

There's room in this town for two beading shops.

They can see each other from their respective parcels along the Loudonville stretch of Loudon road, but that doesn't necessarily mean they compete. These days, there are plenty of beading hobbyists to keep both stores busy.

For years Karen Maclelak, owner of Bumble Beads on Loudon Road, has been doling out the supplies, tools and know-how for making custom jewelry from beads.

She opened shop in Loudonville in July after moving from Ballston Spa.

Maclelak said she isn't certain why her clientele followed her south and why they stop at her shop rather than head another few hundred feet down Loudon Road to her competitor or the box-store craft centers in Colonie.

It something about her store in particular. It could be her personality, service or low prices. Whatever it is, her customer base continues to grow in the three years she has been the beadkeeper of Bumble Beads.

"Everyone feels warm and welcome when they come here," Maclelak said over the weekend.

Despite the heavy snowfall that made for treacherous driving conditions, Saturday, Feb. 9, customers were coming into her shop to stock up on supplies or take one of her beading classes.

"It's snowing pretty good, and people are here beading away. It's like therapy for women. It's something that's easy to do and makes for instant gratification," said Maclelak.

Maclelak was a real estate agent in Saratoga Springs in the late 1990s. She survived the real estate boom, often putting in 60-hour weeks, and used her beading hobby as a from of functional therapy, she said.

It's the reason she calls the larger worktable at the center of the store the "therapy table."

In the past 10 years, the craft has exploded in popularity, Maclelak said. Stores have popped up all over, from Albany to Glens Falls, and there is no shortage of customers.

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