Already having trouble tackling your New Year’s resolutions?
Some local business owners can help you out with products meant to motivate and inspire, from comforting crystals to energizing juices.
Additionally, these breakout entrepreneurs (the oldest business in the bunch opened in 2019) shared what inspired them to get started, and what pushes them to keep going and accomplish their 2022 goals.
Little Shoppe of Crystals
Lenny and Melissa Speicher have a shared interest: crystals.
Lenny has always been intrigued by crystals and fossils. His wife, Melissa, collected them as a kid. While vacationing with her family, she’d venture into little shops that sold gemstones.
Now, the Speichers own one of those stores together. In November 2020, Little Shoppe of Crystals opened in Sayville. Their previous business, a bead store, had closed earlier in 2020.
"But it was very serendipitous," Lenny Speicher says. "The universe opened up all the information we needed at the time."
He says that the healing qualities of crystals have been drawing in curious customers since the shop opened. For good luck in the New Year, he recommends green aventurine, citrine and pyrite. Crystals have different purposes, and it’s said that holding them or keeping them in your purse or pocket will enhance their qualities.
As for green aventurine, citrine and pyrite, "they all reference luck, abundance and good fortune," he says. "Pyrite is good for positivity, too."
Little Shoppe of Crystals also sells candles containing these gemstone crystals inside. Once the candle is burned to the bottom, you can remove the crystal from the jar. Two of the three major candle lines carried by the shop are created by Long Island teachers, Speicher says.
In 2022, Speicher hopes to get the store’s website up and running, so customers can browse inventory and shop online. He also would like to start offering classes on crystals, astrology and reading tarot cards.
To other up-and-coming entrepreneurs, Speicher says this: "The most important step is the first step, and make sure you have a good plan."
The Six Juice Market
In November 2020, Ron "Six" Montgomery signed his lease on The Six Juice Market’s first stand-alone location in Sayville. In November 2021, the doors finally opened.
"It’s been a roller coaster," Montgomery says. "But it’s been a great ride."
Dealing with permits and building codes caused the delay, but now folks from Sayville and Oakdale are welcoming his business with open arms, says Montgomery. And the staff appreciates it.
"We have a very inclusive work environment, as far as different employees’ ages, backgrounds and nationalities," Montgomery says. "We work together and try to put out the best customer service and product possible."
That product is a line of handmade juices, made with fresh fruits and vegetables. The flavors include Power 6, which contains kale, spinach, pineapple and lemon. Kale and spinach are "great for digestion" while still leaving behind healthy fibers and vitamins, Montgomery says.
Another flavor, called Inferno 6, features watermelon, beet, ginger, orange and lemon.
"It’s great for energy," he says. "You can drink it post-workout, pre-workout or during the day when you’re lagging."
The ingredients of each juice serve different purposes. Another example is Melo 6, whose celery and pear combination is beneficial for skin and stomach health.
Regardless of which one you try first, "it’s a great jump-start to a healthy way of living," Montgomery says.
Montgomery started his juice line as a way to help cancer patients, as he says it "restocks the body full of vitamins and minerals." During his own mother’s radiation treatment, he knew she needed vitamins back in her body more than ever.
When he was just starting out, he enlisted the help of his friends’ children to taste-test the juices. Why? "Children are the most honest people in the world," he says.
Going forward, his goal is to start a line for children — the same juices, just in a more lunchbox-friendly format. (The bottles would be four ounces instead of twelve.) Then, Montgomery hopes to get those bottles in local school districts.
This year will also bring in-store exclusives, including protein shakes and a line of vegan soul food.
It was a matter of perfect timing for sisters Tanya Willock and Temidra Willock-Morsch.
Willock had just left a job in retail, and after running a textile business for six years, Willock-Morsch was looking for her next step.
"Within six months, we opened up the store, which was kind of amazing," Willock says.
Nestled in Southampton, Hidden Gem opened in the spring of 2019. The business has become a creative space for Willock: she sells her own paintings and photography there. The shop also features clothing, accessories and home décor.
"We like to say we’re artists first, businesswomen second," Willock says. That can be difficult at times, she admits, but their mission has remained intact: "Our main focus is to create personal work as well as showcase the work of others."
Hidden Gems carries Hope Cards, an initiative started by mental wellness company KindSide. Hope Cards come in a deck of 28, and each one contains original artwork and affirmations that promote positivity and create conversations around mental health. These include: "What disappointment have you turned into a positive?"
Willock bought a deck for herself before she and Willock-Morsch started carrying them in their store. Mental health is an important part of overall well-being, she says.
"You just pick one every morning and it’s something to hold and carry with you," she adds.
The sisters became friends with Lindsay Quinlan, the founder of KindSide, during the pandemic. The art on the cards was created by painter and illustrator Lindsay Stripling.
One of the big sellers at Hidden Gem are word band bracelets that have phrases like "Dreamer" and "Good Vibes Only," a little reminder to keep your energy positive in the New Year.
"The word band bracelets were really popular throughout the summer; a lot of people got them as friendship bracelets, and they were big as stocking stuffers this year," Willock says.
And Hidden Gem carries embroidered fabric in frames with sayings such as "Worry Less."
"That’s a good thing to see every morning when you wake up," Willock adds.
Hidden Gem will reopen after a holiday recess on Jan. 14 for the weekend, and then by appointment only in the store. Their website is available for placing online orders.
Willock has learned a lot along the way to becoming an entrepreneur. Her advice for other artists and hopeful business owners is twofold: First, just take the leap, and plan as you go.
"Planning is nice because it’s easy and safe to sit in your room and write down ideas, outline everything you need to do," she says, "but it never gets to actually doing it, so it’s easy to get stuck."
And second: "Fake it until you become it. Second-guessing yourself isn’t productive."
The Collective Consciousness
In Oakdale’s Lighthouse Commons, there’s a busy performing arts theater, a jam-packed collectibles store and a huge antique store. You may have just missed The Collective Consciousness, intriguing yet unassuming by its storefront.
Inside, there’s an oasis of spiritual tools to help you start 2022 on a peaceful note.
Starting a business in September 2020, though — that wasn’t easy, says owner Karen Valentine.
"It’s like being on the ocean during a storm and it’s your first time out," she says. "It’s been difficult, but it’s been very educational."
The store features plenty of crystals and incense, plus uplifting décor, a variety of soothing candles and gemstone jewelry. The space is divided up into its main retail section, meditation and healing rooms and the Curiosity Shoppe, which is a separate area with accessories and tarot cards. There's also a station where you can create your own candles, using essential oils, crystals and herbs.
In addition, there's an assortment of handmade journals. Journaling is essential to achieving mindfulness in the New Year, Valentine says.
"The big thing I like to tell people to do in their journal is to keep it by your bed," she says. "I call it brain dumping. Every single thing you’re thinking about, write it down. It relaxes you into sleep."
The store also carries a wide selection of calming essential oils, some of which are infused into soaps, candles and sprays.
"I am constantly looking for products that are vibrationally matched to what we’re doing here," Valentine says.
In the year ahead, Valentine hopes to continue raising awareness about The Collective Consciousness.
"I want to get the word out that we’re here," she says. "And that there is a place for people to meet that are aligned with them and their journeys."
Little Shoppe of Crystals: 12 Main St., Sayville; littleshoppeofcrystals.com; 631-337-1618
The Six Juice Market: 291 W. Main St., Sayville; the6juice.com; 631-892-6260
Hidden Gem: 47 Jobs Lane Suite B, Southampton; hiddengemny.com; 631-259-3494
The Collective Consciousness: 945 Montauk Highway, Oakdale; 914-600-8391