Shaftesbury store, Nature’s Treasures, has been named as one of the top five spiritual shops in the country by Soul and Spirit magazine.
“I hadn’t thought of this as a spiritual shop really,” said owner Clive Carter. “A lot of people call us a new-age shop or a’ hippie’ shop. Visitors to the town love the attractiveness of our stones,” he added.
Nicola and Clive Carter have operated for business, known for its crystals, mineral specimens, fossils, incense and oils, for nine years. Clive says he’s delighted that the specialist publication’s readers have nominated his business, because there’s so much competition from similar stores locally and nationally. “There’s probably forty or fifty in Dorset alone. So there must be hundreds across the country,” said Clive.
Clive and Nicola could soon achieve greater success. Later this month, the magazine will ask the public to pick one of the top 5 finalists. Clive says that winning the best shop title will put the store and Shaftesbury on the map. The magazine is promising a promotional piece for the winner.
“There would be a big spread about us in the magazine. It’s not a monetary prize but there would be a certificate, which we could display. This is about the prestige and to win it would be fantastic. Hopefully it’ll draw a lot of people into the town,” Clive said.
This High Street business is already known outside North Dorset. Clive and Nicola have been supplying mail order shoppers for years. “We have sent things abroad to several countries. We send a lot of goods to the north of England, particularly around Manchester, Liverpool and Macclesfield,” Clive said.
If you’ve been to Glastonbury, you’ll know that there are many shops there that appear similar to Clive and Nicola’s business. Clive says that many people believe that there is a spiritual link between the Somerset town and Shaftesbury and that does attract visitors here.
“Several books have been written about the connection between Shaftesbury and Glastonbury. We have had travellers from Australia come in and they have told us that they had to come to Shaftesbury because they’d been to Glastonbury. There’s a thing called the ‘Shaston Eagle’ – a pattern that connects a lot of ley lines and special places in the area. Shaftesbury town is the heart of the eagle. A tip of one wing is near Stourhead, near King Alfred’s monument. That’s ironic because King Alfred has such a massive connection with Shaftesbury,” said Clive. “The other wing goes out to Durweston, near Blandford. The tale of the eagle follows the line of the River Stour. It’s been plotted on a map. Ancient tribes believed in this for years,” said Clive.
Currently there is no conclusive scientific proof about the healing property of gems and stones but some people are convinced that do they possess special qualities. At first appearance, Clive, who has spent years working as a thatcher, would seem an unlikely exponent of the power of crystals.
“I’ve suffered with my back for years, because of the nature of the thatching work,” Clive explained. “I’ve had aches and pains, nothing that keeps you off work, but you’re always suffering a bit. A friend of mine who is a reiki healer told me to wear a piece of carnelian because it’s good for lower back problems. I got a piece and didn’t take much notice of it. Then I realised that, after a month, I wasn’t having so much pain in my back. It is not a cure but it certainly takes some of the pain away and makes life a little easier,” he said.
Clive has developed an extensive knowledge in this field and has been asked to write magazine articles. “When I get passionate about something, I want to share that knowledge. I love sharing it with people who are interested to learn,” he said.
So how did Clive and Nicola first become interested in stones and crystals? “When our son was very small, 4 or 5 years old, we used to walk on the Dorset coast collecting fossils with him. When you go into town for a cup of tea there’s usually a fossil shop with crystals. Nicola started collecting them. I started collecting rare minerals. George is 25 now, so we have been at it for 20 years. Then, 19 years ago, I had a chance meeting with Judy Hall, a prolific writer on crystals. She gave us the kick up the bum to start a business,” Clive smiled.
Alfred will publish the website address of the magazine’s awards voting page when it goes online soon, so you can vote for Nature’s Treasures. Nicola and Clive should hear whether their store has been even more successful following that public vote, later in the autumn.