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Couple filling beads void in community

December 16, 2005|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

tiffanya@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN - Beads were what was missing from downtown Hagerstown's art district, if you ask Allie Baumler and Nathan Buchman.

Buchman, 23, and Baumler, 22, are co-owners of The Potomac Bead Company at 109 S. Potomac St., a shop that specializes in one-of-a-kind baubbles.

The shop across from Washington County Free Library opened last month.

"There wasn't anywhere to get beads anywhere around here," said Baumler, a jewelry maker. "You had to go like 30 miles just to get them."

That's when her boyfriend, Buchman, came up with the idea.

"She's the artsy one, the one who's been making jewelry for years," Buchman said. "I had the business background."

The shop is perfect for Buchman, who said he can now put his business degree to good use. Buchman, who lives in Williamsport, graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa., in 2004.

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Baumler graduated from Dickinson in 2005 with a degree in American studies and a minor in religion.

"I did not want to be a lawyer and I didn't want to be a history teacher," said Baumler, who lives in Hagerstown. "This has kind of been one of my passions, selling my own jewelry."

Baumler said she made jewelry for her family and friends while she was in school.

By opening the shop, Baumler said she hopes to become a supplier for other jewelry makers. The store carries beads from around the world, mostly because there are few genuine beads made in the United States.

Bali beads and those made of precious gems are among the most popular, she said.

The store also offers jewelry-making classes.

"I want to show people how easy it is," she said.

Buchman said the two met on their school's cross-country team four years ago.

"It was during a practice," Buchman said. "I just remember her being a really great girl."

But there was a problem.

Baumler was from Lancaster, Pa., while Buchman called Washington County home.

Buchman said he took a job in Hagerstown after he graduated, while Baumler was still finishing up at Dickinson.

"As she was getting ready to graduate she didn't know what she was going to do," Buchman said. "By having her run the store, it gives her a reason to move here, closer to me."

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Nathan Buchman, 23, of Williamsport, and Allie Baumler, 22, of Hagerstown.

-- The couple opened The Potomac Bead Company after they graduated from Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pa. Baumler, who graduated from Dickinson College in 2005, said the business would help her pay back student loans. Buchman, who's been dating Baumler since 2001, said it would bring the two closer - Baumler is originally from Lancaster, Pa.

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