Brunswick’s Pleasant Street has a magical new addition: Raven & Crow, a metaphysical supply shop and espresso bar. The business opened its doors on August 23 and, almost two months later, has firmly established itself as a community center for pagan religious groups and magical practitioners.
Three of the store’s four owners—Lou Ford, Alex Laverne and Emile Boisvert—met while attending Brunswick High School, and Lou’s husband, Cornelius Ford, joined the group when he moved to Brunswick from Massachusetts two and a half years ago. They combined their interests and began seriously planning the shop’s opening last January.
While they had initial doubts about how the Brunswick community would receive the store, the owners have been pleased with the turnout of people who are already familiar with supernatural practices.
“A huge chunk of [our customers] are people who have been practicing for a long time or really want to dig deeper, and that was kind of that little unknown,” Lou said. “We had a feeling that that [community] was there. Because, well, we’re here. There has to be more people like us.”
Raven and Crow carries a variety of items and ingredients for practicing the occult, including candles and tarot cards, bones and books and over 150 loose herbs. It is important to the owners that their curated selection of merchandise is locally and ethically sourced.
“The ethics part is super important to us,” Cornelius said. “Appropriation, especially with native cultures and other closed practices like voodoo and hoodoo in the spiritual space, is something that we’re really trying to get rid of.”
In addition to magic supplies, Raven and Crow offers an espresso bar—their special is a honeycomb latte—and divination services such as tarot readings and herbal consultations. The shop also hosts classes and events such as guided meditations in its downstairs space, and the owners plan to stay open for extended hours on Halloween to celebrate. However, their main focus is on creating a space that is comfortable for all members of the Brunswick community.
“That’s kind of been our big focus,” Lou said. “We’re a queer-owned business, and we want people to come in here and feel welcome in this space because oftentimes people can feel very marginalized in those types of shops, ourselves included.”
For the owners, increasing crowds since the shop’s opening are indicative that they are succeeding in this mission.
“Next week we’ll be at the two-month mark. Every day more people keep coming in … I feel like on the weekends we just keep getting busier and busier, which is awesome,” Cornelius said. “You’ve always hoped for the best but you always have that little, ‘What if it doesn’t work out?’ But the response that we’ve gotten from the community—and we’ve had returning customers—has been more than anything we ever really imagined.”