When the Hobbit House closed its doors in 2018, McLeese Lake resident Vicky Ortiz seized the opportunity to fulfill her lifelong dream and open a ‘witch store.’
“In my head, a witch has the ability to create their life the way they want to have it,” she said of the reason she was inspired. “There are all sorts of ways to achieve that — through gratitude, spell casting, the law of attraction or Tarot card reading. Using the power of your mind you can change your life.”
In October 2018 she started looking for rental spaces and was leaving the Hobbit House one day when she turned the corner onto Oliver Street and saw a big “For Sale” sign at Cariboo Saddlery and pulled in.
Owner Mark Denny was on his way to a chamber of commerce meeting and didn’t have too much time to chat, but Ortiz was able to ask how much he wanted for the building, and told him she’d return with her partner Gordon McArthur to have a better look.
“I wanted Gordon to look at it from the eye of a builder,” Ortiz said.
“Mark sold it to us for a good price and by December we had sealed the deal. We started renovating in January and opened our doors in May.”
She hopes her store will bring positive change to people in terms of inspiration, luck and health.
“People tell me they feel good when they come into the store,” she said.
“I have had a few who come in and maybe have an expectation of what a witch store is supposed to be and are surprised. I have to say there’s been more general acceptance that I could have hoped for.”
The building, she said, was moved to Williams Lake from the Wells area in 1930. It was a drug store at one time, Butch’s Hardware and then Denny owned it for 30 years as Cariboo Saddlery.
“There was a fire in here at one time and there used to be a woodstove. All the wood we’ve used in the renovation is from the original building.”
There’s a chalet inside the store they have preserved and altered so that it is wheelchair accessible.
One of her favourite items to sell are banners and there are several hanging on the walls featuring quotes from famous people of varying belief systems.
“I was reading my journal the other day and noted I’d written I wanted a place that felt really good, that people found what I sold interesting and found something positive.”
Ortiz first moved to McLeese Lake in 1991 from Manitoba. She was married to a dentist at the time and they eventually owned the Kids Only Dental Clinic where she worked as a hygienist for 20 years and then as the office manager.
“I retired and found I did not like it after about eight months.”
She said she’s looking forward to this next chapter in her life.