Future unclear for mystical Dinkytown shop

In-store fortunetelling is SaraCura’s latest adaptation and service in the down economy. The Dinkytown boutique specializes in belly dancing supplies, Henna, incense, crafts from local artists, and silver and gemstone jewelry
April 21, 2009

Belly dancing supplies, fortunetelling and local art have all found a home in the ornate and incense filled SaraCura boutique, one of Dinkytown’s unique features.
Located at 1411 Fourth St. SE, SaraCura specializes in belly dancing supplies, Henna, incense, crafts from local artists, and silver and gemstone jewelry. SaraCura is the only store in the Dinkytown area that contains an extensive supply of belly dance supplies, such as finger cymbals and hip scarves.
And although co-owner Sarah Dorman, who goes by the name Sara Cura, said adding a fortune teller to the store’s list of services two months ago has helped business, a decline in sales recently led Dorman to put the store up for lease.
However, Dorman will still offer her products and services at festivals, private parties and elsewhere, she said.

Business in Dinkytown

SaraCura opened in Dinkytown in May 2007 after relocating from a small kiosk in Calhoun Square , which was open from 1999 to 2006. Dorman said she saw a space for lease that fit the criteria of what she was looking for in a business: huge windows and an on-the-street location.
Dorman said sales have declined since the recession, noting the Dinkytown store never really had the chance to thrive like her previous location in Calhoun Square.
“It started and then things started to get difficult,” Dorman said.
She said the store will be closing when she and co-owner Alice Marks find someone to take over the lease. The shop is not involved in any negotiations, so there is no set date to close.
“The store is not doing what it should, so it makes more sense to do what works, which is festivals, private parties and things like that,” Dorman said.
She added that the closing is a result of sales simply being down.
“It has nothing to do with our customers or our love for the store,” she said. “It’s all about the numbers.”
Dorman said she has tried to attract customers by putting out fliers, updating SaraCura’s website, sending out e-mails regarding upcoming events and offering walk-in Henna.
Because of the economy, Cura said she has had to cut back on the way she advertises, opting for inexpensive advertising.
“[There is] less spending on our part,” she said. “We’re being very tight with our budget.”
Dorman said she has noticed changes in how customers spend their money while shopping at SaraCura.
“I see a lot of people coming in where they may have spent $20 at some point and they are now spending $5,” she said.
Dorman said because sales have been down, her business has never had the opportunity to increase sales.
“I don’t feel like the sales have ever been where I would think that they could be, given the different economic environment,” Dorman said.

Fortune teller added

Melanie Fehlberg calls herself a fortune teller.
Fehlberg came to SaraCura two months ago, and Dorman said her services have attracted more people to the store, even though she has only been there for a short time.
Working for small businesses most of her life, Fehlberg said she “was sick of working for other people’s dreams,” so she started her own business called Sacred Divination , now stationed in SaraCura.
Fehlberg said she was searching for a place to do her Tarot Card readings, runes and palmistry, and the energy she felt at SaraCura was ideal.
“The energy here is so calming and so perfect for reading,” Fehlberg said. “I needed a space that was conducive to reading where I could send my clients and [SaraCura] had the extra space.”
Fehlberg said she became interested in fortunetelling when she started taking Scandinavian studies courses at the University of Minnesota, where she said she “became immersed in Norse folklore, Scandinavian tales and legends.”
After being with SaraCura for two months, Fehlberg said her client base is starting to grow. She said because the first few months of business are “building months,” she has only had 25-30 clients per week. However, she said this week she plans on seeing 50 clients.
“This isn’t standard, but has been my best record,” Fehlberg said. “Hopefully it will become standard.”
Dorman said Fehlberg approached the SaraCura owners with the idea of offering her services in their store, and her business has been a success. Fehlberg said because of the growing interest, she would like to start a Tarot Card circle in the future.

'SaraCura isn't going away'

Customer Catherine Levar has been shopping at SaraCura for the past five months and visits the store once a week, she said.
Levar said she enjoys shopping at SaraCura for crystals and incense.
Dorman said she feels like the light from the windows “manifests light,” providing positive energy to customers.
“Even if people don’t buy things I’m more than happy to just let them rest from their reality, for just a moment at least,” she said.
Levar said the design and all of the different items that SaraCura offers sets the store apart from any other stores.
“It always feels good to come in here,” Levar said. “That’s what I go by.”
Dorman said she wants people to know her business is women-owned, women-run and she strives to maintain an open mind and optimistic attitude while running a business.
Though the store is in jeopardy of closing, Dorman said she will continue to offer her merchandise at festivals and hold house parties.
“Even if the store closes, we will still continue doing business,” she said. “SaraCura isn’t going to go away.”

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