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Tampa bead business thriving during Gasparilla

Buccaneer Beads is a family business
Posted at 1:14 PM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 16:03:53-05

TAMPA, Fla. — When you walk into Buccaneer Beads, on MLK Blvd., it can be pretty overwhelming. There are hundreds of varieties of beads and pirate gear — it's where the Krewes of Gasparilla go shopping.

“Mom and I decided to open a beads store 16 years ago and we picked definitely the right city,” said owner Jennifer Grindell. “It’s a great feeling to work with family and just have it come down the generations so maybe one day my son will take it over.”


Grindell said 75% of their annual revenue comes during the month of January.

In the back, Jennifer’s husband unloads even more boxes, each one with more than 700 strands.

“I mean our phones are ringing off the hook and people are asking, ‘are we going to have beads Friday,’ I don’t know,” said Grindell.

John Crawley bought three dozen boxes for his Krewe of “F” Troop.

“This is what the people look for, we got iridescent white ones, we got hot pink ones, we got some other multi-colored ones,” said Crowley.

Every Krewe is on a treasure hunt for its own unique style.

“We’re getting some throw beads for some new members and some specialty beads for us who like to give out extra long beads, extra big beads, that people really get excited about,” said Paula Sinclair, with the Krewe of Shamrock.

The longer you do this, the more wisdom you gain.

“It’s all about weight, you’re down on Bayshore, you don’t want something that is too lightweight, if you get a breeze it’s going to come back at you,” said Grindell.

She even takes requests, designing beads for specific Krewes.

“It just means so much for me to sit down and draw these and have it mean so much for so many other people,” said Grindell.

After having so many bead oriented events canceled last year, she said it’s great to see so many old friends make their triumphant return.

“We crossed our fingers and we made it and everybody is excited to come back, everyone is ready to parade again,” said Grindell.