About five years ago, Melissa Webber wasn't liking her professional life.
She was looking for a change, but didn’t know what direction to go in.
Her mother-in-law, Carole, was seeking a life transition, too, hoping to retire from the business that she started with a partner in Coquitlam.
That Austin Avenue business, Reflection Books Metaphysical Bookstore and Wellness Centre, opened on the 1988 spring equinox (March 21) and had a large following with shoppers and visitors wanting spiritual guidance.
Webber, seeking new employment, asked Carole if she could take over.
"It totally felt like it was divinely timed," Webber said.
"Even though I wasn’t into any of this stuff back then, I was coming into a spiritual awakening and I knew I could do it. I had a lot of corporate experience."
On April 1, 2018, the Maple Ridge resident became the new owner of Reflections Books, keeping the business in the family and going strong.
Webber doesn't regret the decision.
"I made the right choice. It’s been a wild ride the last few years, but it’s been an incredible place and journey. Every time I walk through the doors, I know that I did the right thing."
The "ride" that Webber refers to is mostly due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In March 2020, she closed Reflections for three months due to the provincial government’s state of emergency prompted by the global public health outbreak.
The closure particularly affected many of Reflections visitors who had come in for appointments with readers/psychics to heal spiritually.
By June, Webber was back in her empty store and organizing sales via curbside pickup for shoppers who had ordered items online and by phone.
She also spent the downtime upgrading the point-of-sale software.
And while she received a federal loan to make up for the loss, Webber is blunt: She doesn't have the money to pay it back and is hoping lobbying efforts for debt forgiveness by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business will be successful as business isn’t yet back to normal.
Still, she’s hoping to get more foot traffic through the doors this weekend when Reflections — and its entity upstairs, Oasis Wellness Centre — hosts its 35th anniversary sale; the open house is on Saturday (March 25).
Webber hopes past customers will return to take a look at the store that offers spiritual wares like crystals, jewelry, tarot and oracle decks, incense, candles, dream catchers, semi-precious stones, bath and body products, aromatherapy, tea, journals and about 2,000 titles of books.
And Webber, who's on the board of the Austin Heights BIA, hopes the event will also draw in new customers who are on a wellness path.
Practitioners of tarot and oracle decks, palmistry and soul readings will be on hand for Saturday's open house and, from noon to 4 p.m., spiritual medium Amanda Rhodes will be in the store to sign copies of her decks.
Joanna Rose, a reader who rents space at Reflections, said Webber has transformed the space since she took over in 2018, giving it a fresh look.
"It's an environment for all walks of life," Rose said.
"But we’ve been seeing a lot more younger people coming through the doors lately. They're seeking another path, or they were here as kids shopping with their parents. Everyone who comes in finds that it’s a very sacred space."
The 35th anniversary celebration for Reflections Books (1111D Austin Ave.) runs from March 24 to 26 with the open house on Saturday. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday to Sunday.