Stepping into Pandora’s Box, a metaphysical supply store, is like stepping into another world.
Located at 1100 Derby Street in Pekin, the layout of the store is sectioned into two parts: The first has a big, glass shelving unit in the center of the room with each shelf home to a variety of different stones – some to store energies and others to heal emotional wounds – and the other side has a bookshelf carrying a variety of books with topics ranging from healing to witchcraft.
In the second part of the store, different types of candles and incense line the wall. Further back in the room, a glass case displays metaphysical arti
facts. On top of the display case, incense burns.
Lori Plemons opened the shop five years ago after leaving her office job.
“I felt a need [to open the shop],” Plemons said. “This is going to sound really strange, but I guess one day it just kind of hit me, and I went into the boss’s office where I was working and said, ‘I have to give you a two-weeks notice because there is something else I have to do.’”
According to Plemons, the local community had a need for a metaphysical shop that she wanted to fulfill.
“My customer base has very open minds, all of them – they don’t like to be labeled, they don’t like to be put inside of a box, basically,” Plemons said. “They needed some place where they could go and get fresh ideas or just see the mystical side of things; people need that. I think that’s probably what has kept me going for five years because the [customer] base has just grown and grown and grown. “
Customers come to the shop from all over, even out of state, to visit the shop.
“I have customers that come as far as from Iowa, Bloomington, Springfield [and] Lincoln,” Plemons said. “I mean the whole area, so there obviously was a need for that particular type of business.”
Plemons said she is welcoming to people who have never been in a metaphysical shop and usually knows a first-timer when she sees one.
“Normally, you can tell by the look on their face,” Plemons said. “They are coming here for a reason, and it’s not like they just randomly walked in off the street … The majority of those people go towards the stones and crystals, that has become a big thing over the past three or four years are stones and crystals and the metaphysical healing properties and the magical properties of stones.”
Customers come to the shop with a variety of needs. However, many come to seek help for stress. Plemons said she aims to help both new and returning customers.
“A lot of them are coming in to find relief from stress from everyday pressure,” Plemons said. “My returning customers, they will ask immediately, ‘What do you got here for the craziness that is coming up or what we are going to be going through or the new house move?’ [With] newer people, you usually just want to greet them and make them feel comfortable. And then, within the first couple of minutes, they will feel like they can approach you and ask you for what they need. You don’t want to hit these people over the head with a two by four because they are still new to all of this.”
The name of the shop is a symbol for what Plemons said she wants the shop to provide for customers. Pandora, the first woman created by the Greek gods in Greek mythology, opened a box containing all of the evils of the world, but she shut the box before hope could be released.
“[The name of the shop] gives everybody a little hope that things aren’t as bad as they appear,” Plemons said.
According to Plemons, Hollywood is one of the sources of misconceptions surrounding metaphysical shops.
“Hollywood has done bad, bad things to places like this,” Plemons said. “It makes people think that there is a lot of dark stuff that goes on inside of a metaphysical store. [That’s] not true. This is all very vibrationally high in a place like this. Everything is more positive. I mean you’ll get the negative energy that comes in, and it’s [my] job to raise that up, to make [customers] have a different perspective maybe than what they had when they first came in here. So, as far as the dark, scary, negative stuff that Hollywood and everything else likes to put out there about metaphysical stores, [it’s] not true; at least not for this one.”
For anyone who is interested in visiting a metaphysical shop, Plemons offered the advice of having an open mind.
“You really have to come into one of these places and try it out and see what it’s about; Don’t judge what you don’t know,” Plemons said. “I have so many different types of people that come in this store, from extremely Christian to not so much, if you want to label it. And everybody inside these walls gets along just great. [There are] different ideas, and lot of times it’s just a big chat session that goes on in here. You really just need to try a good metaphysical store out, see what it’s about … try it out, and see if it works for you.”