When Chevron Trading Post and Bead Company first opened its doors in Asheville in 1997, downtown was still evolving from the lifeless, boarded-up buildings and seedy businesses of the 70s into the flourishing creative haven of today. It was in desperate need of vibrant destinations to attract tourists, as well as locals, and create a renaissance for the city.
To understand why a bead store was such a successful idea at this time, you have to understand a bit about the history of jewelry-making. Before the 80s, glass and gemstone beads, as well as jewelry findings, were not widely available to the public because their creation had not been streamlined in factories. Making your own jewelry was very costly, and finding materials was extremely difficult. Once Chinese factories made beads, findings, and stringing materials in mass quantities at much lower prices, people suddenly had the ability to create their very own unique and personalized accessories. This idea was very exciting and revolutionary to craft enthusiasts, and the demand for stores to supply them with these newly affordable and variable supplies exploded. And Chevron was at the forefront of this groundbreaking movement.