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Since then, the idea spread like wildfire, including more areas each year, from Penticton and Naramata, to Okanagan Falls, Oliver, Osoyoos and West Kelowna.

Today, she’s taking calls about her

trademarked concept from other communities and wine-producing regions around the world. In 2011, the first real year for the venture, 8,000 beads were sold. Beyond that, she hasn’t yet had the time to take a breath and sit down and figure out the numbers of beads involved and how the business has grown, but she now has several employees and dozens of businesses involved.

“The business side just exploded,” she comments, waving her hands around the office where lists of the dozens of businesses involved are arrayed on a chalkboard, and new ones are constantly being added.

There are now seven communities involved.

In a sense, the bead is a byproduct. It’s more about marketing, so facebook and twitter are also used to keep up the buzz, with a bead of the week introduced, and new participants promoted regularly. Blogging is on the agenda to tell some of the stories around the beads and their businesses and the new ones added each week. Promotions involve information centres around the valley where brochures with maps showing where each bead can be purchased; website; brochures at each participating business and rack cards and other advertising. Participants pay a membership fee and buy the beads, which Griggs either custom designs, or sources for each business.

Her business, Madams Jewels, is located in the Summerland Visitors’ Centre on Highway 97, and features not only a variety of beads for Pandora-style charm bracelets, but also unique hand- crafted jewellery and other art, some of it available on commission from other artists.

At each business featured on a bead trail map, visitors will find a display of the unique bead for that business, bracelets on which to thread the beads and spacer beads. Staff will be educated in telling the story of the bead that represents that business.

“It’s great fun,” she comments with enthusiasm.

Networking is key to the success of such a concept and it’s critical that the proponent be a people person, preferably one with retail experience,

British Columbia FRUIT GROWER • Summer 2014 25

she is grateful to the Community Futures/Economic Gardening scheme and to the Summerland Arts Council for their support.

she notes.

“It’s all about marketing,” she adds. With the start-up work behind her,

The Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism presented her with the Tourism and Hospitality Excellence Award in 2010 and the Retail Excellence Award in 2014 for her innovative idea. With a solid foundation now built, Griggs is hopeful she can return to continuing her career in hands-on art, while guiding the continued development of the bead trails.

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