Bead in Hand, 145 Harrison St., was opened in 1993 by Doris Weinbaum. At the same time, the Harrison Street Business Alliance was formed to represent the local businesses. It was later re-branded as the Arts District, and Bead in Hand was certainly one of the businesses that captured the bustling arts community mentality.
"It fits so well in the Arts District," current owner Kim Humphrey said. "It’s a very creative thing. A lot of places come and go, but we’ve been here for 20 years."Humphrey was first introduced to Bead in Hand as a customer in 1996, after she moved to Oak Park. Regular shopping trips there led to a part-time job in 2005 and the manager position in 2010. At that point, Weinbaum had moved to California with her family, and in 2012 she asked Humphrey if she wanted to own the place.
With that, a true staple to the Oak Park Arts District was able to continue, and now both the business and the business district are celebrating 20 years. The Art on Harrison event Sept. 20-21 will feature special events, live entertainment and lots more. For its part, Bead in Hand is offering a drop-in workshop for $5 in which people can learn to make their own earrings.
If you haven't been, the store offers beads, beading classes and beading parties. All staff members are beaders themselves, and are ready to offer help to experienced bead artists as well as beginners.
The store's regular hours are also instrumental in bringing regular customers to the district, where many galleries aren't open every day. Humphrey said she loves helping customers become artists. She recalled one man who came into the store looking to buy rosaries; instead, he learned how to make them himself with the materials at Bead in Hand.
"A lot of people are self-conscious about their artistic abilities, but people don’t need to feel that way," she said. "We can help them focus on what might interest them most. It’s warm and friendly and casual and artsy."