AUBURN — Rose Campbell’s husband, Ron, had nudged her for two years: She ought to open a bead store.

She’d nudge back: She was pretty darned busy.

Then, this winter, looking for work between jobs, she suddenly wasn’t.

“I kept getting, ‘You’re overqualified,’ which meant, ‘You’re too old and expensive,’ that’s what I read into it,” Campbell said. “That’s when I asked (Ron): ‘Are you serious?'”

After working in design development at L.L.Bean for 18 years, and working the craft fair scene for 25 years with her jewelry, the Campbells opened a new bead/jewelry/craft shop on Minot Avenue in May, Butler Hill Beads.

Rose has filled the shop, next to Mac’s Grill, from floor to ceiling with racks of natural stones, tiny seed beads, sea glass, pewter beads, leathers, cords, chain by the foot and all manner of wires and clasps. She’s left most of one room for her own creations, right now a lot of wire-wrapped rings and pendants.

Ron works at American Concrete and makes glass beads for her, as he’s done for decades, on the side.

The couple, who have two children, both grew up in Minot and live in Ron’s family home on Butler Hill Road (how the shop got its name).

“We started doing (craft) shows at the beginning because we wanted to have extra Christmas money and extra vacation-time money,” Rose Campbell said.

A co-worker at L.L. Bean turned her on to jewelry-making with malleable Friendly Plastic. 

“I bought the beading magazines. ‘OK, I can do that, it might not look like theirs, but I can do that,'” Campbell said.

She retired from Bean’s after 27 years, 18 of them spent in product development for home textiles. She said she loved that job and has found those same skills helpful in setting up the store and choosing inventory.

The space, at 1022 Minot Ave., was the former sales office for American Concrete, which had been vacant for two years after it consolidated offices.

Campbell has lined up a full slate of classes to be taught from the shop, by herself and other artists. Wire Wrapping. Earrings Galore.

A class called Basic Beading, she said, will go over the tools needed to start, stringing options, tips for design, how to close off the ends (to toggle or not to toggle?).

“I love to sit at my workbench — everything just goes away,” she said. “It’s my relaxation. I can just sit there for hours. There’s many nights I go to bed, ‘Oh! I should have tried this …'”

She’s built up a customer base from her craft fair years. Some beaders coming in are making pieces for themselves or family. A surprising number sell on Etsy.

Campbell said she’s glad she made the leap.

“I don’t go to work every day,” she said. “I’ve just got to get down to the shop.” 

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