Crystal Heart brings new spirit to downtown storefronts
A year ago, Norman Baldwin wasn't thinking of opening a location of his New Age bookstore in downtown Hillsboro, let alone two.
But that's just what Baldwin has done, and more.
Crystal Heart Books, 247 E. Main St., opened in November, catering to people interested in metaphysical and New Age products, with a selection of crystals, dream catchers and books for sale. The shop performs tarot readings and can take a photograph of your spiritual energy, or aura.
But what makes Crystal Heart unique isn't the products on its shelves. A few doors down, Baldwin has opened a second Crystal Heart location in downtown.
The second shop, Crystal Heart Boutiques, 269 E. Main St., offers a collection of services, from massage therapists to acupuncturists to an eyeglasses repairman, alongside an art gallery displaying several local artists in a variety of mediums.
"About 95 percent of the artists we have come from right here in Hillsboro," Baldwin said. "This is new to me. We put a sign out in the window that we were accepting new artists, and all these people started coming in."
So far, response to the boutique and art gallery has been good, Baldwin said.
"I think having a spiritual belief system, whether empowering artists or a new healing modality or getting spiritual guidance, Hillsboro has been craving that," Baldwin said. "That's the goal, to provide that space for people."
Baldwin has run Crystal Heart Books in downtown Beaverton for more than two decades. He said opening a shop — or in his case, two shops — on Main Street in Hillsboro was meant to be.
"We have a lot of customers from Hillsboro," Baldwin said. "I didn't realize how many until we opened."
Baldwin had first considered taking over the former Healthy Heart Project, after the previous renter left. The space was home to several New Age-themed local businesses, offering everything from massage therapists to acupuncturists who wished to stay, and Baldwin considered keeping it open under the Crystal Heart brand.
Baldwin was also interested in renting another space a few doors down. His original plan was to operate only a single store, but he was able to negotiate with landlords to open in both storefronts.
"It became a no-brainer to do both," Baldwin said. "It just sort of happened."
Dave Thayer, who repairs eyeglasses at Crystal Heart Boutique, operated under the previous tenant and stayed under the new owner. He said he's enjoyed the new direction of the space, he said.
"It's a great feeling for everybody here," Thayer said. "It's wonderful."
Baldwin said he plans to offer classes at his shops, including yoga, art classes, intuitive classes and workshops for veterans to fix eyeglasses.
It's about healing the spirit, Baldwin said. The two downtown stores do that in different ways.
"Empowering and motivating people, that's the nature of our business. That's what it's all about," Baldwin said. "It's about helping other people find their emotional balance, or physical balance or overcoming some cockamamie belief system that may not work for them."
Though the two different Crystal Heart locations offer different things, it's not uncommon for shoppers to visit both stores on a visit, Baldwin said. That's something he'd like to see more of downtown.
"My mind is blown thinking about what this space could be, especially with having two locations only four doors apart," he said. "We'll be working together. That's what needs to happen with all of the business downtown. They work together. You visit one place, and they say, 'Oh, you need to go to Clark's for the best cheeseburgers,' and after that, you go get something from another business nearby."
Baldwin admits that his setup is unusual, but he said his business has grown and changed a lot over the years, becoming what it is today.
"People always say, 'It's location, location, location.' It took me 27 years, but now I have a location, a location and another location in Beaverton," he said, with a laugh. "I guess I've done it."
By Geoff Pursinger
Editor, Hillsboro Tribune
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