By NATALIE MILLER
A trip to a local book shop can inspire or calm a reader. Mechanicsville’s Books Beads & More was created from two sisters’ passion for reading, and a need for a creative outlet.
Dr. Kelly Hagan and her sister Erin Schilling opened Books Beads & More with Hagan’s husband, Greg about five years ago.
“We had always talked about, when we got older we’d open up a used book store,” Hagan said.
Hagan works at the Virginia Cancer Institute, within walking distance from Books, Beads & More’s location on Bell Creek Road. After years of dedicating long hours to her patients, Hagan decided to find a hobby to unwind.
“I was looking for something that would be relaxing and beautiful,” Hagan said.
She discovered an interest in creating jewelry, and began taking classes in the craft.
“I made way too much—nobody needs 400 pairs of earrings, so I started giving away my earrings to my patients,” Hagan said.
After brightening patients’ days with her earrings, Hagan and her sister decided that they could try selling the jewelry at the Tomato Festival. The sales from the festival were so successful that the sisters wanted to sell them in their shop.
The family is actively involved in the all aspects of the shop, from selecting books for the shop to creating the very materials for the jewelry. Hagan’s husband makes lampwork glass beads for her jewelry, crafting animals and festive shapes for the necklaces and earrings.
“How many places have you seen dinosaur bone necklaces? You can find stuff here that you can’t find anywhere else,” Schilling said.
“If you’re a local person and you have something I don’t have and it looks like a good fit, we’ll try it,” Schilling said. “All the crafts here are all local artists, so when you buy here you are buying local.”
The products are primarily created by Hanover crafters, including some of Hagan’s own patients.
“My patients are so gifted and talented,” she said. “Some patients expressed interest in displaying and selling their own artwork and handmade items at the shop after learning about it.”
“A lot of my patients weren’t necessarily able to hold down a full time job and may have been sick…but they were creative and this allowed them to get some extra income.”
Books Beads & More carries locally-made soaps, painted glasses and bottles, and accessories for people of all ages.
The shop owners are all avid readers themselves—the first 2,000 books in the shop even came from the sisters’ home.
If a customer is searching for a specific book that they have been unable to find at any store, the shop owners keep an eye out for the title.
“It’s kind of fun to look for things that people want,” Schilling said.
Books, Beads & More strongly supports Hanover authors, and even has a section devoted to these published residents. Local writers like Joann Meaker, author of Nola’s Gift, have held book signings at the shop as well.
Local author Sheila Talley even included Books, Beads & More in her novel, Ice in the Ville, which is set in Mechanicsville.
Schilling said that one of the reasons that the business is successful is that the co-owners genuinely get along.
“A lot of people question how we can work with our family, but we like working together,” she said.
The owners acquire their books and DVDs primarily from sales and donations. According to Schilling, donors may receive store credit for their book contributions.
“We have some of the neatest customers,” Schilling said. The shop enjoys its regular readers and shoppers who enjoy browsing the book shelves or finding a unique gift for a loved one.
“Once they come in, they always come back,” she said.
Schilling said that Books Beads & More holds several sales during the holiday season, from Thanksgiving through Christmas. The shop also remains open on Sundays during the holiday season for shoppers to find gifts for loved ones, or even to treat themselves.
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