Caravan Beads began life in March of 1991 on the sun porch of Barry and
Jean Kahn's house. Jean Kahn and Carolyn Mitchell fell in love with making
beaded jewelry and wanted to buy beads and
findings at wholesale prices. The original 'store' was only open on Saturdays and the
inventory lived in a couple of suitcases. Despite a total lack of
advertising, Caravan Beads grew and by the end of summer had a new home
in a second-floor office space. Following a successful first holiday
season, the business relocated again in April of 1992.
In the summer of 1994, Caravan Beads of Chicago became our first licensee and we began to train customers in opening new bead stores
around the country. That year also marked our entry into mail-order
wholesale. The web site went live in October, 1995. One month later
we received our first shipment from Miyuki Co., Ltd. (developer of the
Early in 1999, it became clear that the mail order business was going
to outgrow its current quarters. After a couple of months of searching
we purchased a suitable building. Remodeling the inside took another 2 months, but the wait was worth it and that warehouse served us well
till 2002, when we needed to expand again. We purchased a larger building to house both our retail store and the mail order business
under one roof. After a lot of remodeling and a move which involved
transporting about 50 tons of stuff, we were in our new home.
In October, 2006, we once again found ourselves needing more room. We built a 12,000 sq ft addition to our
current building which included a new space for our retail store and
plenty of additional warehouse space for both the retail and wholesale
parts of our business. You can walk around our retail store with a Virtual Tour from Google Maps. In 2013 we purchased the building next door and we recently installed large solar arrays on the roof of both buildings.