Planning a trip to Maine and love beading? You won't want to miss the Caravan Beads retail store as you enjoy everything Portland Maine has to offer!
Passing through? Place your order online and pick it up in-store. Did you purchase too many wonderful beads? We are happy to ship your beads home for you so you don't have to weigh down that suitcase.
If you're anything like us, then every state you visit, you program the 'ol GPS to hit every bead store in the area. I always like to plan a shopping day when I'm in a new place. Try out local restaurants and find the hidden gems (and by gems I mean gemstone beads!) I've been to bead stores in Boston, New York, Florida, and New Mexico, but of course there's no place like home!
If you've never visited our retail store in Portland Maine, you are in for a treat - Maine's slogan is "The way life should be" and it's true for so many reasons. Caravan Beads is the largest bead store in New England and we can ALWAYS tell when someone has never been in before. They will walk in, their eyes will get huge, and they'll grab their friend and say 'WOW!' The friend always replies "I told you so!".
We started small but we've grown into an amazing bustling business over the last 25 years both online and in-store. Most people don't realize that Caravan Beads started out with a few trays of beads displayed in suitcases on a sun-porch in Portland, Maine. We quickly outgrew our sunny space and have moved several times, growing and landing in another sunny spot on Forest Ave just minutes from downtown and the waterfront. From a tiny sun-porch to our retail store and warehouse. People always want to know what's in the rest of the building because it's so big - our warehouse is FULL of beads!
Our retail store includes two large work tables where we can teach basic instruction free of charge anytime we are open. My favorite part of working here is being able to teach, and just about every customer will tell you their favorite thing about US is that they can get help with their projects. Free advice, anytime! Each of us takes such pride in our teaching, and customers often come back just to show us their finished projects. I've seen customers go from not knowing the difference between round and flat nose pliers to making and wearing the most gorgeous jewelry.
I'm inspired every single day seeing someone's color choices or how they mix certain unexpected beads. We believe that teaching beading and stocking an array of interesting, marvelous, and fun beads is the best way to keep our customers happy and coming back time after time. Basic instruction at Caravan is always free and always will be. I never get tired of hearing someone say "this is my favorite place!".
I think the most important service we offer at our store, besides selling the most beautiful beads, IS our teaching. Some customers who visit our store believe they aren't crafty enough to design and make their own jewelry. But with a little bit of guidance, they start to see the possibilities and they learn the basics of jewelry making. What could be better than being able to make earrings to go with your favorite necklace? Or a bracelet to perfectly pair with that new sundress?
We repair broken jewelry and we can even turn that one earring you've held onto into a pendant. We also offer more specific evening classes for the customer who prefers a more challenging project. Our classes are held on Tuesday nights from 5-7 and cost $25 plus materials. It's wonderful to see how different everyone's pieces look at the end of class. Check out our summer class schedule online and spend a fun evening beading while you're visiting our city!
We stock many types of beads from around the world, but we're especially known for our Miyuki seed beads. We import these beautiful beads from Japan and even supply other craft stores. The walls throughout our store are lined with rows and rows of colorful seed beads. Visitors often like to snap a photo in front of one of our bead walls! It really is so cool! Our selection of gemstone, African, glass, and natural beads are also a favorite.
The more beautiful and the more unique the better! We stock wire, chain, leather cord, stringing materials of all types, tools, and needles. You name it, we've probably got it! Our findings cases are especially popular. Choose sterling silver or 14k gold filled clasps or earwires to dress things up. Or keep it fun with antique brass, silver plated, gunmetal or any of the other base metal finishes. Whatever the style, we'll have a color or finish to suit your beads.
Portland, Maine is such a unique and special place where there is a little something for everyone. Summers in Maine are especially beautiful. We are lucky to be just a short drive away from the most beautiful (and most photographed) beaches and lighthouses in the world. Portland has gained a solid reputation for having some of the best restaurants and breweries on the east coast. The seafood in Maine really is the best in the country. There's nothing like a fresh Maine lobster roll! I have friends who have moved away and they'll still have their family send them a fresh lobster when they're homesick! North of New York City, you won't find a better, more unique selection of places to eat. We really are in a wonderful foodie town.
Summers at the bead store are always so much fun. We get to see families who make Caravan their traditional stop on their way to camp. It's a perfect family activity if you're trying to beat the heat and spend a little relaxing time in the A/C or looking for a rainy day getaway. I've said it many times 'It's always sunny at the bead store!'. Both children and adults are able to make their own designs and spend a little family time in the process.
A lot of women plan a girls' weekend in Maine and make Caravan top of the list. I can think of nothing more relaxing than spending time with my best girlfriends at the lake doing some beading in between a little grilling and swimming. We've had beaders from all over the country and all around the world stop at our store. I love hearing customers from far and wide say that they stop in every summer and that they wouldn't miss it!
If you're planning a trip to Maine and you love beads you'll definitely want to check out our store. Take a virtual tour with Google to get a sneak preview before your trip to Vacationland!
Caravan Beads 915 Forest Avenue, Portland, ME 04103
1-800-230-8941 ex 1