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Business Happenings - February 2004

Soul Food's Quality
as a Healing Desert Oasis
by Carrie Switzer

Soul Food
59 South Main
Moab UT 84532
in McStiff's Plaza

It’s very clear to Soul Food owner Tammy (Gabrielle) Weaver that Southeastern Utah’s largest metaphysical new-age store has a lot of local support. The unimposing and quite attractive storefront in Eddie McStiff’s Plaza is open seven days a week, year-round, including Friday and Saturday evenings. In Moab, keeping business booming through the winter months is pure testament to local support, and in this case is indeed a place that feeds the soul.

“Some people use Soul Food as a place to come and relax,” Gabrielle says as she prepares for another “festivities” evening celebrating Valentine’s Day. “I’d say to people who haven’t been in to the store yet, come check it out. There’s something here for everybody.”

A young entrepreneur opened Soul Food six years ago with little more than pure intentions to offer a wide variety of spiritual gifts in a beautiful setting. Karen MacFarlane “started out from zero,” according to Gabrielle, “and figured out how to make it work.

“She did some creative buying and developed amazing relationships with vendors in Tuscon, Las Vegas and Denver. When I bought the store two years ago, she took me to these shows and introduced me to her suppliers, who all loved and admired her. I’m really impressed with what she did.”

And what she did was set Soul Food up as its own entity, so that Gabrielle now enjoys “top quality for the best prices,” just as Karen MacFarlane had set it up.

This trickles down to Soul Food customers, as well, ensuring a loyal clientele and a solid Moab enterprise.
“When she was in the process of selling it, she cared a lot about what happened to the store,” Gabrielle said. “Our local customer base supports us all year long, and we support them.”

Soul Food carries a library of books, candles, oils, incense, cards, crystals and statues of a variety of deities. Buddha reigns among these, but Soul Food promotes no one religion or metaphysical practice. There is a wide selection of song bowls, tapestries and home décor of the practical and spiritual-practice variety, and many unique jewelries and accessories to enhance the overall lifestyle of a spiritual seeker.

Among those are pendant quartz crystals attached to a leather necklace that can be filled and refilled with perfumed oil. Simple, beautiful and practical, this is among the items people tend to come from all over the Four Corners region to acquire.

“We regularly have people from Blanding and Monticello come here, but we also get quite a few regular customers from Aspen, Telluride and Durango, who say they can get things here that they can’t get in their own town,” Gabrielle said.

“Even tourists, who have picked up a business card, will call and ask us to ship them something they wish they would have gotten while they were here. That’s a major compliment, that people get all the way home and still want to order something from Soul Food.”

Gabrielle said she gets the most satisfaction out of the fact that people who come to Soul Food often get a boost in mood and energy when they’re feeling down.

“That’s really what we’re all about,” she says. “It shows in our books, incense, scents and aroma therapies – everything about them is about healing, and people can take out of here tools that help them in their own healing.”

On Friday nights Taunya Jones conducts psychic readings beginning at 6 p.m. While locals enjoy these events all winter long, during the summer months the readings can go on until 11 p.m., with a line forming at the door. The same is true of the aura readings conducted by Jeff Johnston on Saturday nights, also beginning at 6 p.m.
“These are well attended,” Gabrielle said.

Soul Food also draws out the local musicians, who will use a festivity, such as Valentine’s Day, as an excuse to perform.

Gabrielle said the community helps her decide what books to get, and favorite incense and oils tend not to change over time. Variety comes in the jewelry department.

Soul Food employs five people in the wintertime and seven to eight during the summer.

“The employees are a huge part of the store,” Gabrielle notes. “Some of them have been here from the beginning, and each, in their own way offers something different that certain customers will come in for, and all of it contributes to the well-being of the store.”

Soul Food is located at 59 South Main in McStiff's Plaza and is open every day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and until 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday evenings. Summer hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

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