Bonnie Gurney, owner and manager, Enchanted Boutique: 4074 White Bear Ave N, White Bear Lake, MN 55110, 651.600.3769, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.enchantedboutiquemn.com • Enchanted Awakenings Event Center: 2020 County Road F, White Bear Lake, MN 55110, 651.600.3769, email@example.com, www.enchantedawakenings.com
The Edge recently connected with Bonnie Gurney to learn more about the two White Bear Lake businesses she created: Enchanted Boutique and the Enchanted Awakenings Event Center.
What did you do before starting these businesses, and what inspired you to create Enchanted Boutique and Enchanted Awakenings?
I spent almost 35 years doing accounting at one level or another for the State of Minnesota for several of its agencies. My life took a total change after my parents passed away in 2010. My daughter, Jenny Davis, and I started to openly investigate and learn about the paranormal, which was something that we were interested in for some time.
We started to attend paranormal conventions and eventually started to also be vendors at them and psychic fairs. Eventually, the thought kept popping up that carrying around salt lamps that weigh up to 40 pounds each was a bit much, and we should open a store.
I laughed about it, but then I started to really think about how much I hated my current job at the time and needed to get out of there. My daughter, son-in-law and I started looking for a location. Without much money to put into a business and just a small amount of inventory, I knew it was going to be scary and darn hard. On March 10, 2014, I signed a lease for a 325-square-foot space.
I was not that knowledgeable about metaphysical topics, so I was totally on new ground in so many ways. But, I knew I wanted to open a metaphysical shop. So many of the things that I was finally realizing about myself made that very evident. I really wasn’t sure how the neighborhood was going to respond, so I used the tag line of “The Boutique with a New Age Twist.” I also started out very slowly on what we were going to carry in the shop.
On April 25, we opened our doors to the public for the first time. My son-in-law, Chris Davis, was going to help out, because I was still working full time. But, as I told my husband, Tom, if I didn’t get away from that job, I was going to be the next one to have a heart attack. So, I took early retirement on May 1 and have been at the shop ever since. It was the best thing I could have done. I love my business and the new things and people it has brought into my life.
In 2015, we moved into our current space, which is only 72 feet away from where we started. It had so much more space and the possibilities were endless. Being on the street corner has been incredible for business. Even with the stress of change and more expenses, with the help and support of some awesome friends and loyal customers we are doing more than I would have imagined four years ago, including expanding last year into more space within our building, moving our classroom there and creating Enchanted Awakenings Event Center.
I tell people that only a few years ago, I would have never imagined doing this or learning the things that I have. It was totally not on my radar before 2012. Now, I can’t imagine my life without it.
What sets your businesses apart from others in the region?
We are one of the only metaphysical shops on our side of the Twin Cities. We cater to a variety of people, not only our area but from all over the state.
We have a large variety of items, not only basic metaphysical supplies, but also gifts, jewelry and so much more. We have a large variety of crystals, which are something I been pulled to since I was a young girl. I just didn’t realize until a few years ago why.
We also try our best to keep our prices reasonable and our products affordable. We have a variety of services and classes available. We try to find items that will be of interest to a variety of people and are always looking to bring in more things to amaze the customers.
But, most importantly, we try to have a warm and inviting energy in the space.
What does a first-time visitor to your business experience?
In the shop, we try to greet each customer as they come in. I continuously hear about how relaxing it feels to customers when they walk in the door. I believe that is because you are greeted, and due to the energy flowing from the crystals located all over the shop, the scent of essential oils in the diffuser, and the scents of candles, herbs and incenses.
The event center also is an inviting place for people. All four elements are represented in the front of the center, and the classroom area features a unique mural created by a friend of mine, Scotty Roberts.
What are your long-term plans for your businesses? What would you like to change to make them even better in the future?
Like every business owner, I would love to see us outgrow the space we have, but I also like the location we have. We also hope to hire more staff.
I am concentrating right now on getting the word out about the availability of the Enchanted Awakenings Event Center for use by others, not just for the shop’s events and classes. I want people to have a community space for learning and meeting others with the same interests.
We are always looking for ways to meet the needs of our customers by adding more services and class offerings.
What is your favorite story from your experience working in your businesses?
My favorite story is one that happened shortly after we opened. An older man walked in and started talking to me about how great it was to have a metaphysical shop back in White Bear Lake again. He said he was pagan and that the area really needed this shop. We talked most of the afternoon.
It was amazing, because we hadn’t even advertised the shop yet, except on Facebook. We were only just starting to get metaphysical inventory on the shelves. But this guy already knew what I had in mind for the shop and was making me feel relaxed about the possibilities of doing it in this area. I had not known that Metaphysical Emporium once existed in downtown White Bear Lake, so he educated me on the area.
It is said that people come into our lives for a reason and when we need it the most. I truly believe this was one of those times.
How has starting these businesses changed you personally?
It has been a wild learning experience — not only in creating the businesses, but also for myself, too. I did not realize a variety of things about myself until after the shop had opened. One thing that I have learned is that I am not “overly sensitive” as my parents put it, but I am empathic! Once I became aware of that, things from my past started to make more sense to me.
I love what I am doing now, even with the stress of running my own business. I can do so much more now to help people. I am now looking at so many things differently, and I am addressing things in my spiritual journey. It also has brought a variety of wonderful people into my life — people who have helped with the changes.