My partner had a short trip to the Hampton Roads/Norfolk area the last couple days, and I took the opportunity to go with him and visit a couple of the Witchy stores in the area. I thought I’d write brief reviews of each store to give you one Witch’s experience. Like commenting on specific products, this is something that I don’t have a lot of experience with, and for which I receive no consideration or compensation. With that said:

Kindred Spirit, 7510 Granby St, #C, Norfolk, VA 23505, 888-454-3180

Hours: M-F 10am-7pm, Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm

This was the kind of place where just visiting made me feel good. (I know that’s not a very professional or specific statement, but this is a Witch’s review of a store catering to people who work with metaphysical energy, so I’m going to review that energetic sense of the store more heavily than I would for, say, your local camera shop.) Kindred Spirit is in a somewhat shabby strip mall, but the store itself is well-maintained, spacious, and brightly lit, with comfortably-laid out islands and shelves of merchandise. It smells of incense, like many Witch or Pagan shops, but not in a way that’s overwhelming or choking. The proprietors greeted me kindly but weren’t intrusive while I was shopping. When I made my purchase, the lady ringing me up was both kind and efficient, making it a very pleasant experience from start to finish.

Merchandise and selection: Kindred Spirit has a solid foundation of what I think of as the essentials for a Witch/Pagan/New Age store: decent selection of tumbled stones, incense, herbs, and candles. I was disappointed by their limited book selection; they had mostly secondhand works that looked more like what’s left over when I clean out my bookshelves than the kind of carefully-selected inventory that I like to browse. But, I’m obviously a bookworm, and if I had to choose between having my local shop carry books and basic inventory, I couldn’t blame them if they picked the stones, incense, herbs, and candles over books.

The real plus to Kindred Spirit is that they also carry plenty of handmade items, including some jewelry, very elaborate candles, and some very nice altar pieces. There were some altars designed in a way similar to an old-fashioned lap desk: a shallow box, the size of a small desktop, with a hinged lid. One of them had a ceramic tile the size of a sheet of paper inlaid in it, with one of Jessica Galbraith’s more popular images on it. Galbraith’s work also featured in the greeting cards and some decorative items around the shop, supporting their claim to provide fantasy as well as Pagan resources. Although they didn’t have the wide range of selection that some stores do – they tended to have just a few choices in any given altar item – they did a reasonable job providing choices, and I liked the way they featured uniquely crafted items.

Prices: I was impressed by their prices, especially on everyday items that make up the majority of my purchasing at a local store. Their chime candles (4 in high, 1/2 in diameter, what I think of as the standard one-per-spell candle) were available in the whole rainbow of colors and were only 48 cents. Their incense and herbs were very reasonably priced, with many, if not most, of those items available less expensively than I could get them through Amazon or another major online retailer, even before shipping, which is truly amazing. I picked up some frankincense and myrrh resins, in fact, because they were so inexpensive compared to what the closest shop to me charges.

Side notes: I enjoyed visiting with the store cat. I was told there was another one further in the back somewhere who didn’t make an appearance; the orange-and-white kitty sitting on the counter was much more interested in sleeping than inspecting the visitors, but appreciated a small behind-the-ears scratch.

Overall: Kindred Spirit is a great place for the local practitioner to pick up regular supplies. I didn’t have time to investigate their class or ritual offerings, but based on my impression as a shop, I’d expect those to be very hospitable, welcoming settings as well, ones I wouldn’t hesitate to explore. This was the kind of place that I would stop in just to see what was new, and would enjoy having as part of my local network.

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