Stores of Metaphysical Gifts
Pagan stores experience the same start-up and growing pains as any other business venture. With the proliferation of witches, wizards and psychics in mainstream movies and television, Pagan topics have flown right out of the broom closet. However, being a proprietor of Pagan items and information can have singular issues that do not exist for other stores. With solid preparation and effective social networking, opening and maintaining a Pagan store can be a successful venture, monetarily and spiritually.
"Pagan" comes from the Latin "paganus," meaning "country-dweller", a person living outside the fortified city walls of the Roman Empire. The modern "Pagan" has interest in ancient polytheistic religions---especially the Celts, Norse, Egyptians, Hindus or indigenous cultures like the Native Americans. A Pagan may define herself as Pagan, Wiccan, Witch, Druid, Strega, Priestess, Heathen or use no label at all. Respecting Nature and coexistence through peace, Pagans may also follow sympathetic philosophies, such as Buddhism. "Magick" for Pagan rituals differentiates from stage illusionist "magic," and most Pagans follow either a low-magick or high-magick tradition. However, Paganism as a spirituality is distinct from Goth or Vampire social trends.
Check with your local city ordinance commission or Mayor's office to ensure you can open a Pagan store in your area. Older "anti-fortune telling" laws that are still on the books may or may not be enforced. These laws prevented occult, esoteric or metaphysical businesses from operating within city limits. If your city still has such a law, petition the City Council to repeal the law or give you special permission to open your store. The City will also make available any business licenses, building or remodeling permits, electrical and plumbing codes or fees required to open a business.
Create a list of items and services you want to make available. The local Pagan store is a hub of activity for the Pagan community, offering classes in yoga, tarot and meditation, plus workshops or get-togethers. Pagan shops specialize in dried herbs, essential oils, divination tools, ritual tools and clothing, jewelry and spiritual books. Familiarize yourself with suppliers that can offer great prices on supplies and accessories, such as small zip bags for herbs or twist-on cap bottles for oils. Pagans are also avid readers and will visit the shop often for the newest additions in the fields of magick, herbalism, metaphysics, religious histories and the latest findings in quantum theory.
Determine the size and number of rooms you need for your store. Try to incorporate a separate room that can hold at least 10 people for group gatherings. Some stores are set up in an old house allowing the different rooms to focus on specific supplies. If the site is a large, beige commercial space, partitions and paint will create intimate spaces for the customers to peruse your wares.
Pagans frequent Pagan stores not only for supplies but to be transported to a different time and space. Opening the front door, the waft of incense greets the customer. Dark woods, thick carpets, hanging veils and curtains offset book-lined shelves and covered tables with ritual tools, all lending to the air of a medieval alchemist's study. Statues of various goddesses, gods or the Buddha might sit next to a display of candles or crystal balls. Gems and other crystals can be arranged amongst the jewelry, but athames and swords should be locked in glass cabinets for safety. Knowing your customers' expectations will greatly help you maintain a store that inspires and grows your Pagan community.