As far back as I can remember, Reedcraft Weavers has been a part of my life. When I was growing up in Cincinnati and we'd drive to Michigan for our summer vacation, Beulah (on the shores of beautiful blue Crystal Lake, in Benzie County) was an important destination, in between stopping to see family in Detroit and heading for our rented cabin in the Upper Peninsula. My dad's parents, Maurice and Ruby Reed, had a cottage on Crystal Lake that they built in the 1940's and named Columbine Cottage. Grandpa Reed had developed in interest in weaving while working as a truant officer in Lansing, and when he retired to Beulah set up a roadside stand to sell his rugs.
Previously I have sold all my woven goods from a stand under the trees across the road from the garage, but this year I put the table right in front of the garage door, and people stopped there just as readily.
And August 5, 1950:
Have felt for several years that I'm not getting enough business in this side road location, and wanted to do something about it. Today I did. Went in to see Seward Nichols about a location. He had the former icehouse - boat storage for sale, a huge building between the Crystal Garage and the new Texaco filling station. It is really an ideal place and the big building is extremely desirable in my business. It is second door from the Cherry Hut, an easy 1-minute stroll, and will surely attract some people who stop there. Would have to install a washroom, some partitioning, a big garage door in front, and some filling is necessary in front, which will leave plenty of parking space. They ask $5000, but Dad thinks they'll take four.
When I was growing up, every rug in our house was made by my grandfather, and after he retired, by my Uncle Lewis. When we visited during the summer, it was wonderful stepping down into the cool dimness of the shop, out of the hot summer sun, and to hear the rhythmic thump-jangling of the loom. We would wander among the piled displays of rugs (all different sizes), placemats, potholders, stair runners, and bedspreads. When my brothers and I got bored, we would go out and hunt among the stones in the parking lot to find Petoskey stones to take home.
And in 1998 I had the opportunity to take my children back to Michigan for a road trip around the state, which included Howell, Mackinac Island, the Upper Peninsula and Sebewaing. We spent 4 days in Beulah, which we all agreed was not nearly enough time. I taught them both how to look for Petoskey stones, and Uncle Lew taught my daughter the basics of weaving. We all learned some family history on that trip, as I told my children about coming to the shop when I was their age, and Uncle Lewis told stories of growing up in Beulah.