|Courtesy Kim Neff|
Alessandra Scamardo, center, former owner of Bead It!, teaches beading basics to Bigs and Littles at a recent Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters class here in Prescott.
The Daily Courier
As she sorted fire-damaged inventory and water-soaked records after the Whiskey Row Fire, Bead It! owner Alessandra Scamardo knew it was time to close her store.
For 22 years, Bead It! had been the place to find new items, take classes, and go to for help with a project.
"What I miss most is working with people on their creative endeavors," Scamardo said. "We'd help them problem-solve to create these ideas they have in their minds."
Scamardo bought Sun West Gallery in 1988, opened Bead It! in the back in 1990, and ran mail-order there too. She also owned Bead It! stores in Mall of America for 16 years, and St. Louis and El Paso for seven.
Through the years, Bead It! donated supplies to summer camps and many local teachers, because "We wanted to help out our community as much as we could," Scamardo said.
In 2010, Scamardo sold the gallery to Rich and Jenny Schulte, co-owners of Jenny Longhorn Western Boutique, and ran Bead It! from the boutique's back.
"Beading is really addictive," Scamardo said. "You get such a feeling of satisfaction in the process, and there's pride in what you create."
Scamardo thought she'd decide whether to renew her lease at year-end, but as they salvaged items that summer, she realized "it was probably time for me to retire."
"We did a big fire sale at the end of summer, and the leftovers were donated to Prescott, Mountain Oak, and Skyview schools and the VA," Scamardo said. "We had a great 22 years and such loyal customers."
Recently, Scamardo held two free beading basics workshops for Bigs and Littles with Yavapai Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
During Jenny Longhorn's restoration, building owners Nancy and Howard Hinson and everyone involved were so helpful, and electrical improvements let them add fire sprinklers and air conditioning to the new store, Jenny Schulte said.
"We really feel it's an example of making lemonade out of lemons," Schulte said.
Since Jenny Longhorn reopened in November, many Bead It! have customers stopped by.
"She (Alessandra) has a faithful following," Schulte said. "When people would come in with a beading project, she and her staff would spend hours working with them so they could make it exactly the way they envisioned."