More Than a Store, a Spiritual Sanctuary
Dec 31, 2018 09:25PM
Lesola Morgan runs Mama Bessie’s Place, a metaphysical bookstore, with her husband,
Alfonso Herranz. She says, “Owning a metaphysical store was always a dream of ours. My husband and I lived and worked in Boston for many years. We finally decided that we needed a change so that we could give more time to our spiritual lives. We quit our jobs and moved to Charlotte.” The store is celebrating their 11th anniversary with a Customer Appreciation Day from noon to 4 p.m. on January 19, with a 10 percent discount on all merchandise in the store except books. There will also be a free gift with every purchase.
“I am blessed to have Mama Bessie as a spiritual guide. We named the store after her,” shares Morgan. “She inspired us to open this shop and to share her with everyone who visits our store. We believe that there are many paths to the divine. As such, we have something for everyone, no matter what their spiritual path or religion.”
Morgan likes to recall the story of her patron inspiration: “Mama Bessie is an African spirit who was a slave when she was on Earth. Mama Bessie had knowledge of and continued to practice her African religion, even as a slave in the United States. While we are searching to find where Mama Bessie lived and what she did, we have pieces of her story. When she lived on Earth, she did not have children, but they called her Mama Bessie because she mothered and nurtured everyone. She was the cook and speaks of taking advantage of her position to help other slaves. Many people were helped through many difficult situations. Because she helped others, she speaks of being exiled to an island off the coast of the Carolinas. She was never exiled for too long, because she was loved by all, and they loved her cooking!”
Mama Bessie’s Place sells a diverse array of spiritual, religious, New Age and metaphysical supplies, gifts and books, including candles, incense and herbs; amulets and talismans; anointing oils, spiritual baths, floor washes and soaps; crystals and gemstones, as well as divination tools such as pendulums, tarot decks, and runes. There are also altar supplies and statuary representing different spiritual and religious paths—Hindu, Yoruba, Catholic and Egyptian.
“We also offer spiritual readings and consultations by appointment,” says Morgan. “Beatrice Bates offers ‘Conversations with Bea’ by appointment on Wednesdays. Morgan also offers spiritual consultations by appointment. She advises, “We also offer ‘cash register’ readings. When a customer’s total balance is an interesting number, such as repeating numbers like 11 or 333, we pull out our numbers reference book, Messages in the Numbers, by Alana Fairchild. People love it and report getting a very meaningful message.” In addition to Bates, Mirtha Cuellar is a customer service associate.
Morgan doesn’t feel the store is in competition with other businesses or metaphysical stores. She says, “There are enough customers to go around. We take great care to provide a wide selection of merchandise to address the needs of newcomers to spiritual awakening, as well as seasoned practitioners. We take great pride in helping customers find what they need, as well as offering suggestions on the best way to use their purchases to help move forward on their spiritual journeys.”
About the store’s ongoing success, Morgan relates, “It has to be customer service and the positive and uplifting atmosphere we try to maintain at all times. People always walk in and say how good the place smells and how comfortable and how much better they feel after coming into the store. People also get lost in the wide variety of items that we try to keep in stock. We have every color and type of candle anyone might require. We have over 150 different herbs, roots, and sticks. The gemstone and crystal section is always busy. We have an exclusive offering of Brazilian crystals from Minas Gerais, thanks to Caineros Crystals. We also try to keep our prices as reasonable as we possibly can.”
The store also provides information about each gemstone, crystal and herb packet in English and Spanish, in addition to resource guides for spiritual oils and herbs. Open decks of tarot and oracle cards are available for customers to peruse before making a choice, as well as advice about choosing candle color for a specific purpose, how to read a candle flame, smudge bundles and mala beads. A new line of spiritual oils has been introduced. There is a community altar with a doll dressed in a blue gingham dress sitting in a rocking chair that represents Mama Bessie. Customers are free to pause and meditate there.
Mama Bessie’s Place is located at 3010 Monroe Rd., Shop 104, in Charlotte. For more information, call 704-632-9911.