Morris resident Aleathea Rivera is hoping to bring Oneonta-area clients under her spell.
The 47-year-old practicing witch launched Willow’s Enchanted Grove roughly a year ago. The 3 Elm St., Oneonta, shop offers, according to its social media, “specialized and handcrafted items … (for customers) on a path to enlightenment.”
Rivera, who also own’s the neighboring Nina’s pizzeria, said the shop pairs her passions with a wish to share witchcraft.
“I’m very spiritual and I’ve been always wanting to open a little shop like this,” she said. “I am a practicing witch, Wiccan and I’ve been ordained since 1997, so I’m an ordained minister and I’ve done marriages, weddings, birth ceremonies and funeral ceremonies. Oneonta, until recently, has not had any kind of shop that’s a little bit more metaphysical or eclectic or spiritual. It has a lot of churches, which is great, and I think all spirituality is important, but it hasn’t had anything geared toward non-Christian or alternative.
“Recently, Magic Box opened up and now there’s a huge (crystal shop) in Otego,” Rivera continued, “but there hasn’t been anything in the area for a long time and I think people really had a need for some of this stuff and (were previously) ordering online. And aside from that, it’s nice to go into a shop. We like it to be personal; we talk with people and, if they have questions on how to do something or use something, it’s more personal than going online.
Rivera said Willow’s Enchanted Grove carries “a lot of little different things that you can’t really find (elsewhere),” with crystals proving especially popular.
“We have witch balls; all different kinds of herbs; organic teas; organic soaps; smudge sticks, like sage and lavender; we have homemade little candles; spell-kit candles that we bless … and regular candles; candle holders; incense (and) incense burners; local handmade pottery; cauldrons; leather journals; tarot cards and I do tarot and palm readings by appointment; jewelry; Tibetan singing balls; really pretty handmade brooms; and crystal and gazing balls,” she said.
“I would have to say the crystals (are the biggest seller),” Rivera continued. “That’s like a big up-and-coming thing right now, especially with the younger generation. That’s the hot thing — crystals and their properties, charging bowls and gem clusters.”
Rivera said much of her clientele is young or interest-specific shoppers.
“People have come from the local area and some of the smaller towns surrounding, but mostly it’s … college kids and that age group,” she said. “There’s older locals and some professionals that have come in and I’ve had friends of mine come in looking for things … but it’s really a specific group of people (and) the customer base we have is really more specialized.
“We don’t get a lot of people just coming in — some, and we have gifts, too — but as far as people that have come in looking for certain items, they’ve been really happy with our space and what we offer,” Rivera continued. “We have lots of Facebook comments saying it’s very cozy and welcome and there’s good energy in here, so we’ve had a really nice response.”
Rivera said she hopes to evolve the shop while remaining true to her interests.
“I live this every day,” she said. “My kids have been raised this way. It’s nice to have different outlooks on things and different ideas … and I’m always learning new things, all the time. I’d like to be able to offer our products or our guidance to people who really don’t know or are interested in learning. It’s a way of life and this is why I continue to do it. I would like to have the business be successful and grow the business more. I’m trying to get a lot of new products in here, when I see things or something new comes out. I really would like it to be a hub for the community that’s looking for something like this.”
For more information, find “Willow’s Enchanted Grove” on Facebook, follow @willowsenchantedgrove on Instagram.