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The buzz in town is that The Bead Hive has a new owner

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TOWNSEND — Sometimes a business is more than just a place to work. For Townsend resident Cynthia Wright, the new owner of The Bead Hive in downtown Ayer, it’s the realization of a dream she didn’t realize she had.

The Bead Hive opened in 1999, carrying a wide assortment of beads.

The original owner, Molly Merrow, continued running the Bead Hive until her husband’s work forced the couple to move to Ohio.

Her son, Robin Keppin, who was 18 at the time, decided to continue running the business while he went to college at University of Massachusetts Lowell.

When he graduated, he decided he wanted to try something else.

Merrow, who opened The Bead Circus near her new home in Ohio, decided that without her son overseeing The Bead Hive, it made sense to close the store.

Wright remembers finding out The Bead Hive was closing. She had been a loyal customer, stopping on her way home from work for five years.

“I saw the sign, and I said, ‘No! That’s not happening!'” said Wright.

She said the store had always stood out as something unique to her. She described being able to come to the store to look for a single bead.

“Even if it was just a 10-cent bead, you could just sit there for an hour and look until you found what you needed,” she said. “You don’t find many places like this, and I didn’t want it to disappear.”

Employee Nicole Robarge filled Wright in on the store’s closing.

Although Robarge had only worked at The Bead Hive for a year, she said she’s been a loyal customer since she first entered the store in 1999 as a 13-year-old.

“When talking to Nicole, she told me that Molly said if the right person came long, she’d be willing to sell it,” said Wright.

She asked for the number, and as the store’s final day came closer, she called Merrow.

“She said, “I have to meet you and make sure you’re right,'” said Wright.

Merrow came back to Ayer for a three-week period to help teach her what to do, said Wright, and see if she was even willing to sell it.

“I think she wanted to know what kind of person I was,” said Wright. “The first week in June, she finally told me that if I wanted it, she’d sell it to me.”

She used a portion of her retirement savings to purchase the business and the store’s inventory.

The store sells beads of several materials from all over the world, said Wright.

“We carry sterling silver, findings and charms,” she said. “We have these Peruvian animals that are very popular with the kids. Beads made of bone from Japan and China. Wood, glass and ceramic beads. We try to have everything.”

Wright is especially proud of the collection of Miyuki, Matsuno and cloisonné beads.

The Bead Hive is also an exclusive seller of the Faerie Glenn line of four-inch figurines and handmade incense.

In addition to the inventory, Wright purchased a few items from the old store that felt necessary to carry on its spirit, including a painting of a hummingbird and a “funky green lamp.”

Wright also asked Robarge if she’d be willing to work for her.

“My making a decision hinged on whether or not Nicole wanted to work for me,” said Wright. “Without her, I didn’t see it as a possibility.”

Wright continues to work during the day at her old job and said she needs someone who really knows what the store is all about.

Robarge said she’s excited to work with Wright, who has brought some new things to The Bead Hive that dedicated customers may notice.

Most notably, it’s now a few buildings down from its old location due to rent increases.

Inside the new store, other items stand out, such as a Hello Kitty telephone and an autographed picture of the band Pearl Jam.

The store hours have also changed. The store is now open seven days a week, noon to 9 p.m.

Wright said it’s important to her that anyone interested in beads is able to visit the store while open.

Although already officially open, the store will be celebrating it’s Grand Opening Aug. 31 and Sept. 1.

“You can come into the store and spend $2 or $200, but whatever you make will be one-of-a-kind,” said Wright.

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