Today is a happy day! I had the chance to go to Metalliferous – IN PERSON! This is huge, at least to me. I’ve bought from them for years now. Over the phone (back in the day) and then over the Internet. But to get to go in person – sweet.
I guess in my mind I thought it would look like your typical bead store. Wrong. Let me step back and explain a bit about my perspective. When I was growing up, my family owned a business – a small, independent pharmacy. It was in an old brick building that now is on the historic register. It had the front section for customers with a soda fountain, and showcases and shelving with over-the-counter medicines along with various toiletries and sundries.
Behind the counter in the back was the area where the pharmacists worked. And behind that was what was called “the first back room”. And behind that – the second back room. And lastly – the third back room. Each back room was more cluttered and mysterious than the previous. There were shelves up to the tall ceilings filled with all manner of stuff. It was an old building, the floors weren’t all the same level, there were dusty old brown bottles with potions in them and it had a smell – the drugstore smell we called it. It was one of those things you take for granted as a kid, but later realize everyone did not grow up with multiple “back rooms” in their life.
Well, Metalliferous was like that. It’s not easy to see from the street – a small sign hanging over the doorway. You walk upstairs, open the door and see shelving and a counter and a lot of stuff crammed into a small space. One of the young ladies said – let me show you around. And she led me around the counter. Into the first back room.
And oh yes, there were more. At least two other back rooms that I got to explore. And some others that did not look open to customers. I peeked in, but could not tell what lay within. Each of the rooms was filled to the brim with metal – stampings, wire, sheet, patterned sheet, beads, mesh, chain, findings, you name it. It was there in silver, brass, copper, aluminum, and who knows what else.
Here are the young ladies that worked at the counter. They were sweet and helpful and I have a bag of treasures from my visit. There fingers were covered in the machine oil that often coats metal parts. By the time I left, mine were too. Maybe their children will someday remember the back rooms of Metalliferous and the smell of machine oil – maybe they’ll call it – the metal smell.