Downtown Chapel Hill and Franklin Street have recently welcomed new businesses selling goods ranging from crystals and locally-made art to men's clothing and home goods.
Quantum Soul, one of the new storefronts, opened in November on North Graham Street between Rumors and Al’s Burger Shack. The store’s owner, Lynn Swain, described her business as an “eclectic gift and metaphysical store.”
The shop offers crystals, tarot decks, jewelry, home goods and locally-made art. Swain is also a practicing psychic and healer and offers life coaching, chakra energy healing, tarot readings and medium work.
Quantum Soul has two sister stores — Magic on 70 in Hillsborough and Bull City Magic in Durham.
Swain said she has wanted to bring a store to Chapel Hill for a long time and likes being close to the UNC campus.
“I do believe that it's a benefit because students are usually more open-minded and less judgmental,” Swain said.
Swain also hosts events and workshops, including full moon gatherings and a crystal and candle manifestation workshop. The next workshop will be held on Jan. 27 and will focus on runes — ancient Germanic alphabets used in divination.
In October, clothing and home design store Marshall Goods opened near Mediterranean Deli on West Franklin Street.
Owner Lucas Marshall said he initially launched an online store in 2018 that shut down during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marshall said he had been wanting to relaunch the store and saw an opportunity when he moved to Chapel Hill last August.
He said the store has benefitted from steady foot traffic in the downtown area and the popularity of surrounding businesses.
“I think that the community we’re in has taken a liking to what we have to offer,” Marshall said.
The store focuses on men's clothing, home goods and personal care items like oils and soaps. Marshall said the store prioritizes ethically made, high-quality products from artisans and designers he trusts.
The store values staying true to the “brick and mortar” experience, which Marshall feels has taken a back seat in the era of e-commerce, Amazon and mass-produced goods.
With high-quality goods and sustainable practices comes the challenge of a higher price tag.
Marshall said he has seen some customers experience what he called “sticker shock” when they first see the cost of some items. However, he said, the store also has returning customers who understand that the prices reflect the quality of the goods.
Tucked away above Sutton’s Drugstore is Map Dot, which sells goods that the owners describe as “curated extras.”
The store was created by UNC graduates and sisters Deedee Mills Hagner and Melissa Mills Lebo. The idea began in 2021 when Lebo moved to Chapel Hill when her husband was hired as an assistant coach for the North Carolina men’s basketball team.
For the first year, the store was run out of an old food truck, and the name Map Dot was a subtle nod to its ever-changing location.
Hagner said the business came to Franklin Street last October to make it easier to operate and more accessible to customers.
Much of what Map Dot carries is inspired by what Hagner and Lebo would buy for themselves and focuses on unique, one-of-a-kind pieces that can't be found anywhere else, Hagner said.
The store has jewelry, vintage pieces and UNC-themed accessories. Once a week, it offers fresh chicken salad from Hagner’s other business, The Mayobird.
Hagner said she remembers the popularity of Franklin Street from her time at UNC and knew it would be a perfect spot for her family business.
“It just means so much for both of us to be back there and just being able to dive back into the Carolina atmosphere,” she said.
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