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    Sunday, August 14, 2022

    A magical place in Mystic

    Monica Carvalho, left, and Priya Persaud, of West Haven, look through items for sale during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. "This is so cool," said Persaud. The friends decided to visit Mystic for the day and made the shop their first stop. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potion drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

    Mystic — The Cloak and Wand, a self-described "wizarding and witchcraft shop featuring a well-appointed potion bar," opened this past weekend in Olde Mistick Village. 

    The new establishment garnered much attention from curious customers who wanted to know what, exactly, this strange place was.

    More than 50 people lined up outside the store on Sunday before it opened its doors at 11 a.m., and the line stayed steady even as people began to file in. 

    Owner Ellie Greenberg also owns Alice in the Village, a themed tea room and gift shop, also in Olde Mistick Village, inspired by Alice in Wonderland. Her husband and partner David Greenberg, who was at The Cloak and Wand on Sunday, said she wanted to do something similar with the new spot. 

    “Ellie’s vision has always been around immersive retail and immersive experiences, so she tries to imagine an opportunity for people to dive into these unique worlds,” Greenberg said. “She set up Alice in the Village very much in the same way. It’s a bespoke creation, and talented artists like Hillery (Errett) come in and are able to really transform the space into a whole different world and a whole different environment.”

    Errett, the manager, assisted in setting up the store since she met Ellie Greenberg last year after she saw a sign that read, “The Cloak and Wand coming soon, a curious place,” and became curious herself.

    Errett described a somewhat unorthodox interview style for potential employees.

    “We asked people which house they came from, and which job they related to most out of fortune telling, time traveling, dragon training and dark arts enforcer, just so we could get the right type of people for the store,” Errett said. The “Houses” she mentioned refer to the four houses of fictional Hogwarts from the Harry Potter books: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff. 

    Still, The Cloak and Wand is not a Harry Potter store. David Greenberg said it’s built around all of the wizards and witches of myth, folklore and literature. Errett made sure to make the distinction as well. 

    “We don’t consider ourselves a Harry Potter store. We do appeal to Harry Potter fans, and we do sell Harry Potter-licensed merchandise, but Ellie doesn’t want to associate herself with just that,” Errett said. “Our dark arts section has a lot of handmade and vintage items. We have vintage taxidermy, we have shrunken heads, we have a variety of things. We have Dungeons & Dragons — it appeals to everyone who loves magic.” 

    Upon walking into the store, people immediately see a “witching tree” along the wall on their left, which, according to the store’s website, “is a common occurrence in the magical world. It provides protection from dark forces and can provide help and guidance in mysterious ways.”

    As customers take in the products — paper voodoo dolls, dragon statuettes, mugs, magic books, crystal balls, golden snitches (another Harry Potter product) and many other curiosities — they walk by a wall of portraits, some of which turn out to be moving pictures that follow them. 

    They then make their way to the dark arts section, with more expensive, handmade products. Then they  get to the potions, which consist of custom-flavored soda, Italian soda and custom hot chocolate. Marshmallows are referred to as “Basilisk eggs” and chocolate pieces as “Troll teeth.” 

    Brandon and Kristen Conti sat outside the store Sunday sipping their potions after their visit. 

    “People are going to come from everywhere in the village to get the potions,” Brandon Conti said. “They have a ton of stuff other than Harry Potter, too.” 

    Kristen Conti appreciated the finer points of the shop.

    “As you walked around the room, there were so many small details, like the moving pictures, and the electric fireplace,” she said. “They also opened at the perfect time with things starting to pick up again.” 

    Josh Mattei and Meagan Yeung of Groton, who were waiting in line together on Sunday morning, said they were Harry Potter fans. But they were there mostly because they had noticed the store when it was preparing to open. 

    “We like to support local businesses and check out new spots in the area,” Yeung said. Mattei noted that it’s “scary” to open a business during the COVID-19 pandemic, adding that he hadn’t seen a line like the one he was standing in for a long time. 

    s.spinella@theday.com

    Potions apprentice Bailey Alter prepares a blue raspberry cold potion for a customer during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potion drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Alex Moses, left, and her nephew Mason Soaves, 8, both of Westerly, look at items for sale during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. “The boys have been counting down the days till our trip here," said Moses. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potion drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Potions apprentice Bailey Alter prepares a blue raspberry cold potion for a customer during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potion drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Items for sale during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potion drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)
    Barry Thompson and his wife Robin, of Canterbury, look at items for sale as they shop during the opening weekend of Cloak and Wand in Olde Mistick Village on Sunday, May 2, 2021. The couple was in town to celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary. The shop offers a variety of magical items for sale, as well as a potions drink bar and interactive experiences. (Sarah Gordon/The Day)

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