Living the beading lifestyle

Lora Lunsford opened The Bead Biz 10 years ago in Old Town Helena. (Reporter photo/Jon Goering)

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

HELENA – Once Lora Lunsford ran out of room for her beading hobby in her basement, she made the decision to turn her passion into a lucrative business.

“I knew I would either have to give up my hobby or open a store,” she said. “It was a natural progression for me.”

Lunsford first opened The Bead Biz 10 years ago in the old city hall building in Old Town Helena. Two moves later, she settled into another building in Old Town.

“A lot of people said, ‘You’re on the back side and hidden,’ but people who bead and are into metal and jewelry making, they hunt you down,” she said.

Lunsford’s customers “hunt” her down from across the Southeast.

“People who do jewelry making and beadwork, when you go out of town, you look for bead shops,” she said.

A Helena resident, Lunsford has raised her two children in Helena schools.

“It was a simple choice for me,” she said of opening her business in Helena. “I’m really big in buying local. It was a natural choice for me. I really liked the old town flavor because my bead shop has kind of a boutique feel to it. It’s got a boutique flavor, but with a community feel.

“A lot of friendships have been made over the tables. Even rekindled relationships, because we’ve had women who their paths have crossed for a second time here,” she said. “It’s more than just a bead shop; it has purpose.”