BELFAST — The tiny, triangular shaped shop at 9 Beaver St., in Belfast, is atypical of the type of retail space in the Midcoast, but it’s a tribute to Maine’s dark side.
Alder & Vine, run by husband and wife, Heather Q. and Jason Hay, lists itself as a place for “artisan goods, oddities and the occult.”
The name of the shop is taken from their farm in Belfast, where they handcraft many of the items.
“While we have a lot of alder and vine on our property, they are also our signs in Celtic tree astrology,” Heather said.
Jason makes the restored furniture and lighting that decorates the shop and in the corner sits a restored Ouija table, on which Heather hand-lettered the alphabet.
“Our interests intersect and blend on a number of things in the store,” said Heather.
They source from several artisans and shops for charm candles, witches’ wands, runes, occult books and herbs to cast spells. The also make witches’ brooms and spell bombs, (fizzy bath bombs that come with a spell—one of their biggest sellers) on their own farm.
The space was formerly an art installation and skate shop with a curved outer wall. The shop is part of the old Opera House building. It has an intimate cozy feel when you walk in, that is, if an entire shelving unit dedicated to animal skulls and spiders encased in plastic blocks don’t creep you out.
There’s only one thing that sort of creeps them out, and it’s an authentic voodoo doll from New Orleans, clad in black, that sits on the back wall.
“I don’t even really like to touch it,” Jason said.
“We knew the kind of stuff was what we liked and wondered if the town would feel the same, but people have come out of the woodwork expressing gratitude that we’re here,” said Jason.
With the store only open for three weeks, the pair is actually surprised how well the shop has resonated with a certain type of clientele.
“When Jason comes homes from the shop, he’ll have complete backstories on a number of people who walk in, because this stuff tends to bring out people’s interest and stories,” said Heather.
“Once they see what’s in here, it frees people up,” said Jason. “You don’t have to worry if what you like in here seems ‘weird’ to anyone else. It doesn’t to us.”
They plan to collaborate with other artisans and practitioners with the same interests in the near future and will be offering oracle readings. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more info.
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com
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