Tampa, Florida -- We all know Gasparilla is all about the beads!! The kids love them and so do the kids at heart.
Beads are more than tradition in Tampa Bay, they are also big business.
Shipments of beads to the Bead Barn in South Tampa have been non-stop for months now. JB Mason, whose uncles started the business 25 years ago, says krewes started buying beads even earlier this year and they're buying them by the pallet.
Brace yourself, this one locally owned business has already sold more than 100 million strands of beads...yes...100 million!
That's way more than last year's more than 40 million strands.
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"It's mind boggling when you think about it. It's to the point where you sleep at night and you think of strands of beads and you're driving in your car and you see a strand of beads in someone's rear view mirror, you don't see it as beads...it's a number you know it by," Mason told 10 News.
Mason says they sell 1,300 different types from beads from throw beads to specialty krewe beads.
"People just buy them and basically donate donate them, give them away and so it's their own money," said Mason.
The Bead Barn didn't get its start selling beads. That only came about when they teamed up with Ye Mystic Krewe of Gasparilla many years ago.
The store got its start, believe it or not, selling greeting cards and tutus.