Forty-five years ago, in the summer of ’67, Anne Liner, pictured right, with the support of her mother, Belle Bashoff, and sister, Idy Harris, left, opened a free-spirited clothing and accessories boutique called The Bead. Its original location, on Read Street in downtown Baltimore, sold unisex clothing along with funky beaded earrings, handcrafted by Liner.
Over the decades, The Bead moved from Read Street to Park Avenue to The Rotunda—it also shifted its focus to strictly womenswear—and now calls The Shops at Kenilworth its home. Staying true to their original principles and vision, the sisters, along with Idy’s daughter Julie Harris, top, have found ways to keep up with the times and give their very loyal customer base affordable fashion.
Q. When you opened 45 years ago, did you expect to stay open as long as you did?
A. No, we were so young that we never thought that far ahead. We were completely shocked when we celebrated our 20th anniversary. Who would have thought that we’d still be here today?
Q. What has helped The Bead’s success?
A. Our mother, Belle Bashoff, raised us to be honest, open-minded, and respectful of all people. We are always honest with our customers and try to give them great service and fashion at the most moderate prices possible.
Q. Has your customer stayed the same since you first opened?
A. Our customer has grown up with us, so our customer base continues to evolve. We are catering to three different generations now. When we moved to The Shops at Kenilworth, Idy’s daughter, Julie, opened a more contemporary department in the store to attract younger women.
Q. How do you stay true to the store’s original roots?
A. We still have the original peace flag hanging in the window that our mother got arrested for displaying in the store in 1970. A lot has changed over the years, but our clothing and atmosphere still reflect that independent spirit.
Q.What pieces are The Bead best known for?
A. We are known for casual lifestyle clothing that enhances your figure, whether you are an extra-small or a 3X. We are also known for our accessories— jewelry, handbags, and scarves.