Shannon Fournier has been a rock hound since she was a kid. She started by collecting cool-looking rocks and stuffing them in her pockets — and had her own rock-polishing machine by age 5. It’s in her genes, she said.
“My grandfather was a renowned geologist,” she said. “Frank Fournier was one of the geologists that found the Leduc oil field in Alberta, which pretty much opened their whole petroleum industry.” Her other grandfather was a miner in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
She spent most of her career in financial management, and recently moved from San Diego to Yakima to take a job in finance here, where her dad lives. “Then I decided to follow my dream,” she said.
When the owner of the Bead and Body Shop in Chalet Place decided to sell the business in 2019, Shannon saw a way to combine that store with her love of rocks. Shortly after that, the owners of Boehm’s Chocolates, also in Chalet Place, decided to retire. She bought them out and merged the two businesses at the Boehm’s location and opened the Yakima Beads Rocks & Candy Emporium.
The store is a cornucopia of colors, textures and geological finds, with the aroma of chocolate floating above it all. A steady stream of chocolate lovers came in while Shannon gave me a tour.
She showed me a naturally created hematite formation and demonstrated its magnetic nature by attaching a few hematite beads to it. A colleague once told her disdainfully “You and your rocks,” and she replied, “Yeah, but you like rocks too — diamonds, rubies and emeralds.”
Then she showed me a chunk of unpolished ruby. At the recent Tucson Gem & Mineral Show she came back with two suitcases, two backpacks and a rolling cart full of treasures for her store.
That morphs perfectly into the bead and jewelry part of her business. She’s got thousands of different kinds of beads and all the parts to put them together to make jewelry. The most popular trend in beading right now is semi-precious stones like turquoise, moonstone, aquamarine and pearls and she offers an extensive selection. Wire-wrapping semi-precious stones is popular, as well as homemade Chakra bead jewelry.
If you don’t find what you want, she’ll get it for you — or even make it for you. “Somebody might have an outfit and they need some earrings to match,” she said.
She’s just as excited about chocolate as she is about rocks, offering me a delicious chunk to savor. She’s working to get a special new type of fudge in her display cases but said pecan turtles and sea-salted caramels are the hottest items right now. Her goal with this unique combination of goods — beads, rocks and candy — she said, is simple. “I just want to have a really good shop and have people feel welcome.”
You can find the store at 5645 Summitview Ave. in the Chalet Place shopping center.