Mystic Moon, 3365 N. Military Hwy, Norfolk, VA , 757-855-3280

Hours: M 10am-10pm, T-F 10am-9pm, Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 12pm-6pm

This is a big shop, in terms of space, and the way it uses that space is alternately exciting and disappointing.

The building itself is not as well maintained as I would expect. It has a barely-converted-from-industrial feel. There is lots of bare painted concrete, with scrapes in the paint, a thin rug that doesn’t cover the whole floor, and lots of dust. This is not a disaster; if you’re excited about the merchandise, you might not notice at all. But it gave the place an odd, ill-cared-for feeling that seemed unwelcoming to me. It’s  not just small details: moderately important things like providing sufficient light in the dressing rooms have been totally neglected.

I do like that they have dressing rooms, and they have a fair selection of clothing, mostly from the Bruja line. This is mostly pseudo-romanticist styles of blouses, gowns, robes, and skirts in a range of colors and easy-care fabrics. Their sizes run small, though, which perhaps accounts for the preponderance of 1X and larger sizes in stock. They also have an odd sprinkling of fetish type clothing and accessories.

The rest of the merchandise is eclectic. There are lots and lots and lots of small groups of merchandise that are obviously handmade or sourced from particular small-scale suppliers. This means that a shopper has opportunities to find something unique that can’t be bought anywhere else. For example, they have jewelry and talismans made with Pennsylvania Dutch hex signs, which are fascinating, but there’s also a fair amount of childish-looking Sculpey pieces for sale that just made me cringe.

It also means that the store comprises multiple small areas that each seem like a display unto themselves. The overall lack of organization doesn’t help. Their selection of tumbled stones is simply spilled out over a couple of trays, with no divisions, descriptions, or other help for shoppers.

Their selection on what I would consider standard items is equally spotty. There are specially made spell candles for different intentions, hand-carved, and plain 3 inch votive candles in different colors, but no chime candles. They carry their own line of oils and have a wall display of herbs that is larger than most, but some things are out of stock. Jewelry is kind of hard to see in the counter, but they seem to have some selection at okay prices. They have only a few books, many secondhand.

They do also work to provide services to the larger community; I’m not in the immediate area, so I can’t say anything about their events, but they host rituals, classes, divination services, and even a library. The library is as eclectically chosen as the rest of the shop, so I’m not sure how much use it would be, but for the casual reader it might be interesting.

The people were friendly the whole time, and the store cat – a big black kitty – was downright lovey. This is an interesting place to visit, but if it was my main store, I’d be a little disappointed with some of the things it’s lacking. I get the impression that the owners have fallen into the common trap of creating a store based on exactly what they would want or like to offer, without a lot of thought about how different types of shoppers might have different preferences, or what would be most appealing and attractive, as well as easy to navigate, for shoppers.

I see a lot of room for improvement in this store, and I don’t want to dissuade anyone from visiting there. I hope they continue to refine their presentation, because with the space they’ve got, they could be fantastic.