Terra Blue: A unique experience in downtown Greensboro

Sophomore Sasha Janowsky browses jewelry sold at Terra Blue.

Mallory Shouse

Sophomore Sasha Janowsky browses jewelry sold at Terra Blue.

Kelby and Mallory Shouse

In downtown Greensboro, you may have driven by a store with many clinking chimes on the storefront and cats sunbathing in the windows. It’s called Terra Blue, and it’s located on South Elm Street. 

The store’s original incarnation was actually a joint ownership between owner Sarah McDavid, a Celtic witch, and her brother. 

“My brother wanted, of all things, a Christmas store. We put in all of our money, all of our retirement, and he left. We decided to do what would speak more to the community, so we converted over to alternative spiritual practice,” McDavid said. “The store has been open for 20 years. We’ve been operating in the alternative spiritual faiths for about 18.”

Terra Blue itself is a melting pot of different religious and spiritual practices, all in harmony with each other.

“Within the alternative spiritual practices, we cater mostly to witches, (who are) people who honor the natural earth cycle,” McDavid said. “We also cater to Vodou practitioners, Santareans, Rootworkers, Celts, Druids, Asatru, the Norse people, anyone who honors the deities and practices of ten thousand years ago, versus two thousand years ago.” 

The store sells a wide variety of items that can benefit the buyer in numerous ways.

“We sell a large selection of herbs to help people obtain goals like finding self-courage, finding peace in your life, (your) home, or clearing out negative energies. We sell a vast amount of crystals, candles and herbs, to help you get in touch with and worship your patron deities,” McDavid said. “We sell what you would refer to as the practical side of witchcraft. Our goal is to help encourage any practitioner of any faith to explore for themselves.” 

Terra Blue has a diverse range of customers from different ages, ethnicities, and religious beliefs.

“My customer and client base ranges from high schoolers who are very dissuaded and disoriented by mainstream religions, all the way to people who have been hurt by mainstream religions. Mostly they come from a Christian realm, and have been abused in some form or fashion, because of their color, sexual orientation or their liberal behaviors. They feel disenfranchised. They feel like they sit through church and get preached at,” McDavid said.

Jennifer Watson, a spiritual life coach, rootworker and staff member at Terra Blue has the same experience with customers. 

“So many different people come here. We have older people, we have younger people, all different races. On the other side, a lot of people I speak to are looking for guidance on their paths. They’re trying to find someone who will point them in the right direction and help them feel like they’re not crazy,” Watson said. 

McDavid has no bias towards these people, or any people. 

“My sister, who works for me, is my stock goddess. She is Christian, and she’s very open-minded,” McDavid said.

“We have Catholic people coming in and looking for rosaries. I’ve maybe encountered a couple of Satanists,” Watson said. 

McDavid’s staff is friendly, kind, and open-minded. 

“During my work experience in fundraising and sales, I realized I hated it. I said, I’m going to start my own business. My background, educational-wise, is in psychology, so I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t want to be a traditional psychologist. I also had this thing about seeing and speaking to dead people, so I was like, okay, how can I combine this?” Watson said. “I decided I wanted to be a spiritual life coach.” 

Another staff member is Mindy Walcer, a cabbalistic Jewish witch. The universe lead her to Terra Blue during a low point in her life. 

“I’ve had a lot of strange, weird things happen in my life. My mother thought (my sense) was really cool so so she made sure I kept it,” Walcer said. “My friend who was living with me at the time was like, ‘Mindy, you’re a tarot reader, go find a job as a tarot reader.’ but I said ‘the universe says I’m not supposed to charge for  my art!’,” Walcer said. “Turns out it was Sarah’s birthday the day I got there. She hired me on the spot. I’ve been here for 17 years now.” Walcer said. 

Watson had a similar experience.

“I just walked in. That evolved into me making my own products for sale. I make conjure oils, with herbs and things of that nature, candles, and bath salts,” Watson said. “(These items are) for reaching out to a specific deity, bringing money or protection.”

Terra Blue has a unique atmosphere that invites people into its doors. 

 “Coming in here, you can just feel the energy. You feel like you belong. (Terra Blue) welcomes all kinds of religions, beliefs and spiritualities,”  sophomore Sasha Janowsky said. 

The store changes all the time, from the merchandise, to the musicians and artists who play outside of its doors. 

“This is a work in progress. This is constant growth. It’s constantly changing, constantly growing, more and more people come here every week, every day. It’s amazing to see all the growth from this tiny little shop that it was when I got here, to this amazing environment that it is now,” Walcer said. 

Terra Blue is more than a store to frequent customers. It is a safe space that is free of judgement.

“It is like a family. I don’t say that to sound cliche. We embrace each other, we all have different spiritual paths, but we all know that the ultimate path is to feel that oneness that connects us all,”  Watson said.