When Unique Blessings co-owner Jeriann Rabbitt was looking for a place for her new business, she was on the verge of signing a lease for another Newtown space. Then something told her to reconsider the storefront in the heart of Sandy Hook at 111 Church Hill Road, the former location of Mr. Turtle's School.
"We were sitting down to sign the contract," she says. "All of the sudden, I said, 'My angels are telling me we can't do this.' For some reason, I was drawn back here." She gestures to the space around her, full of candles, crystals and butterflies.
Rabbitt moved to Newtown just a few months ago from Trumbull while looking for a spot to open a shop with her business partner Starr Bock. The two met when each had a shop at Captain Cove's Seaport in Bridgeport. Bock is a Newtown resident whose son attends Newtown High School.
The two opened the doors to Unique Blessings about two weeks ago. Billing itself as a "spiritual and new age gift shop," Unique Blessings combines a traditional gift shop with services like Reiki healing and spiritual readings.
In the front, the gift shop sells everything from crystal balls to essential oils and local soap. In side rooms, Bock does spiritual readings at a small round table in one room, and Rabbitt provides Reiki healing, an Eastern-based spiritual healing practice, in another.
They're still putting the finishing touches on the space, but it's already graced by decorations, altars and spaces for spiritual contemplation. Friends provided dressers and counters to furnish the space. One brought decorative butterflies to fill the walls and ceilings.
"We started with no money," she says. "We just took some things from the house, and people donated a lot of other things, and we put it together!"
Rabbitt and Bock have been reaching out into Connecticut's new age community to draw attention to the spot, attending oil shows to sell their wares and arranging events, like one coming April 12 and 13 on "the art of self-hypnosis."
They've connected with the Sandy Hook Organization for Prosperity, who have helped by promoting the new location on their Facebook page. And they say they're confident about the future.
"We have special gifts, and they're very strong," says Bock. "We're hoping to reach out to the community and pull everybody back together."
Visit Unique Blessings' website for more information.