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  • Napa Valley Marketplace Magazine

Beaded Nomad - Not Just a Bead Store

Some retailers are hesitant to grow their businesses in a new direction, but Peggy Owens Erridge, the owner of The Beaded Nomad, isn’t one of those. Although she still carries a small collection of beads, she has introduced interesting apparel lines, taking the store in an exciting new direction. “Beads will always be a passion, but staying in business as a bead store was just no longer possible, I had to make changes. I’ve always had a strong fashion sense,” she said, “And I know as a shopper that finding unique and artisan style women’s clothing can be difficult in the valley. So I thought, I have always loved clothes, why not provide a wider range of clothing that is eclectic and diverse to help women buy and stay local.” Eighteen months ago, Owens Erridge started buying clothes for women who are looking for, “casual, with an edge. Things you can dress up or down. Clothing that makes traveling easy and stylish.” She carries brands from local designers, like Aimee G, Grub, Bryn Walker, Indigenous, and Porto. She rounds out her selection with Bitte Kai Rand from Sweden, Ivko from Central Europe, Moyuru from Japan, and Elemente Clemente from Germany. “People now come to The Beaded Nomad for something different and unique, something sophisticated that you’d find in San Francisco or university cities like Berkeley.” Owen Erridge loves retail, and she should – over twenty years ago, it saved her life.

Owens Erridge spent the summer in California in 1980 and knew she’d found a home. She left her native Ohio, and went to work for Hewlett Packard in Palo Alto. The work was fun, but it was a grind. Beading became a hobby and a way of relieving stress. She sold some of the things she made at a couple of holiday shows in the area and gradually realized that she wanted to do beading for a living. In 1994 she left HP, moved north, and opened her store in Napa off of Dwight Murray Plaza. It was a challenging location, but the first year was better than she’d hoped for. Then tragedy struck. In route to work one Sunday morning, she had a head on collision, when a man driving a Suburban drifted into her lane and smashed head on into her Toyota. “He won,” said Owens Erridge.

Fortunately, an EMT from Napa was driving in the other lane and saw the accident. Owens Erridge was airlifted out. “She’s lucky to be alive,” said her husband, Craig Erridge. “She had seven operations the first week, and had both legs and one arm in casts.” Doctors wondered if she would ever walk again. It was sheer determination to return to her business that brought her back. “I’ve wanted to own my own store since high school,” she said. “I just wanted to get back to work.” A year later, she did.

Owens Erridge had the chance to move the Beaded Nomad to a location fronting First Street in 1996. Still in a wheel chair at the time, she signed a lease for the new spot. The jump in sales was immediate at the new location. “We did very well there until 2009, when we lost our lease,” she said. She couldn’t find anything in Napa that seemed quite right and reluctantly moved to Petaluma. When a corner location at First and Coombs opened in 2012, Owens Erridge signed the lease immediately. “It’s a great spot and I love our landlord,” (Mike Ali Musa, owner of Small World around the corner on Coombs.)

While Owens Erridge doesn’t think it makes sense for The Beaded Nomad to be a full-on bead shop anymore, she wants to be there for the customers who turn to her for select merchandise. “We carry stone, ethnic metal beads, and beads that you use to fill in projects. We still carry those unique beads that are otherwise hard to find.” The store continues to carry jewelry from around the world, with a quality that is unique to Napa. “It’s one of a kind pieces,” said Owens Erridge. She also offers a growing collection of leather handbags and accessories. “The store is fun,” she said. “People seem to like the direction we are going, which is extremely gratifying.”

The Beaded Nomad is open every day except Wednesday, at 1149 First Street. Stop by and enjoy the changes. (707) 252-3060. MON, TUES, THURS - SAT 11 AM - 6 PM | CLOSED WED. | SUN 12 PM - 5 PM

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