Oh, oh, it’s magic: Store enchants Orlando clients
Published: Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Updated: Wednesday, July 22, 2009 18:07
Behind the well-known stretch of Asian import stores off Colonial Drive near Interstate 4, there is a small shop that caters to the magically inclined.
"[Avalon] was founded to serve the pagan/Wiccan community," co-owner Miranda Solace-Kabina said.
Avalon, formerly known as Dragonwood, opened in 1993 under the ownership of Hillary Morgan. Morgan operated the store under the Dragonwood name until 1997, when she sold the store and it became Herne's Hollow.
It was sold again on April 5, 1999, when Solace-Kabina took over and gave the store its current name.
Morgan and Solace-Kabina originally met while Morgan was working the Church Street Exchange near Christmas. Later, Solace-Kabina came to the store for a class, where she spent time with Morgan and eventually began working there part time.
Avalon offers a wide variety of products throughout the store, including a large selection of tumbled stones, incense, herbs, clothing, divination tools and two rooms worth of books covering many earth-based religions and practices beyond just Wicca.
The store also offers space to psychics for readings under a contractor-style basis, with set days during the week in which they come to the store for walk-in and by-appointment readings. Classes on nearly every subject matter available in the store are also held at Avalon.
"We have classes on Wicca, spell craft, psychic development, tarot, meditation — all of that stuff," Solace-Kabina said. "Feng shui, crystals, pick your new age, old age stuff, [and] we'll find a class on it."
Along with these classes, the store hosts two major sales throughout the year and other festival-like events.
"We have two sales a year, some are winter, like pre-Christmas," Solace-Kabina said. "And it's just grown into kind of an event thing where we have vendors in the parking lot, like a craft fair and a psychic fair. We have psychics in here and then it's turned into theme things. So because it's summer, summer is the time of the faeries. So, okay — we'll do a faery festival."
This year's Faery Fest will be held Saturday and will include a rededication of the store in honor of the recent renovations the store underwent.
Jacqueline Dombovy works with Solace-Kabina at Avalon, handling stock and customer service, as well as helping watch over Solace-Kabina's two children, who are often at the shop. Dombovy has been working at Avalon for nearly two-and-a-half years and says she enjoys her work.
"I love to work here, because who wouldn't?" Dombovy said. "It's just like a really chill environment. I'm passionate about herbs and all this stuff as well, oils and stones, and it at first started off as just a favor for Miranda.
"When I first started working here I had no idea about any of this stuff at all. She gave me the opportunity to come work here and I've learned a ton of information. It's helped me personally as far as believing in something or having an idea of what's going on."
Solace-Kabina fondly recalled her time working in the store when it first began, and is happy to see it continuing to thrive and grow. She said it currently has more than four times the inventory than when they began.
Both agree that the best part of working in Avalon is the chance to help people balance themselves and improve their lives.
"My favorite aspect of the store is … a combination of the herbs as well as helping people put together certain things to balance them out and align them," Dombovy said. "There are lots of different objects and things that you can put together and create for people depending on what they're going through."
Dombovy appreciates having repeat customers.
"It's really nice when people come back and they tell you that … whatever they did worked for them," she said.
Solace-Kabina also noted that during these hard economic times, some people who don't have church to fall back on for support and stability find comfort through other means, including magic.
"You can't understand it — like you lose your job, or your relationships are suffering because of money problems, you're supposed to be able to fix those things, you're supposed to be able to understand them," Solace-Kabina said. "So people actually turn towards the things that they really can't understand, which is, you know, God."
For people looking for a way to open themselves up and find comfort in what they are going through, Solace-Kabina offers help through readings or getting stones.
"Magic seems to be a more accessible form of prayer for people who aren't necessarily religious," she said.
Avalon is located off of Mills Avenue, south of Colonial, at 1211 Hillcrest St. They are open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.