By Noel Heath //Assistant A&E and Features Editor
Just off the city square nestled between a tattoo parlor and a head shop coincidentally sits one of Murfreesboro’s most serene spaces. Inside, sunlight reflects off of transparent crystals and bright fabrics creating prisms of color around the space. Comforting blends of oils and the wax of candles are met inside accompanying warm, welcome greetings.
In 1996, Ramona, Stan and Carrie Adams opened Stonekeepers as a family to share their love of minerals, crystals and gemstones with the local community. Eighteen years later, the store has evolved into an oasis of spiritual living and a community space for all to find empowerment and harmony.
Stonekeepers began in the Adams’ garage as many small businesses do — a hobby. Lapidary arts (the polishing, cutting and design with stones) had long been an interest of Stan Adams, one that his wife, Ramona, was able to share through her making of handmade jewelry with the finished stones.
A deep appreciation for the aesthetics and the collection-worthy qualities of stones, gems and minerals led the Adams’ family to lease out a small space and sell their polished stones and Ramona’s handmade jewelry to a small customer base only on weekends.
The neighboring bookstore of their first location was at the time one of the only reasons that Stonekeepers had regular customers. Their original clientele brought to light a higher calling the Adams’ hadn’t yet tapped into — the meaning behind their inventory.
“It turned out that our customers ended up being spiritual,” Carrie Adams said. “They would be like, ‘Do you know that these stones mean things?’ and we’d say, ‘What do you mean they mean things?’ We didn’t really plan on being a spiritual store but that’s kind of how it turned out.”
The Adams’ themselves were never necessarily spiritual. Carrie’s parents were raised in Baptist and Methodist denominations respectively, but she was raised nonreligious and learned through friends, television and school of other beliefs.
“It was interesting to see us turning into this spiritual store because we weren’t a really spiritual family,” she said. “It was cool for me because I found a lot of spirituality having been raised without it, just by talking to my customers.”
Over time, Stonekeepers added books to their inventory according to customers’ requests. At the time and even still today, it was difficult to find books, oils and herbs with religious or spiritual context in the Bible Belt of Middle Tennessee. Even more difficult was the Adams’ ability to turn a profit by selling only specialty stones.
“It’s really hard to make a living selling rocks in Murfreesboro, Tenn.,” Carrie said with a smile.
Two years ago, Carrie took over the daily operations of Stonekeepers officially. She stepped outside, both literally and theoretically, and attempted to look at the shop from an objective standpoint to see where there could be improvements.
“I felt like there were all these people that wouldn’t come in because of what they thought it represented,” she said of passersby. “I felt this weird tension because people wanted the spiritual tools, but they needed it to be accessible to them and their faith systems.”
At the beginning of last year, Carrie sought to change that discomfort. Using the technique that worked for them when Stonekeepers first opened, she brought in books. But this time those books were representing a diverse blend of faith systems, beliefs and uses.
“People could walk in a see something they connected with and say, ‘Yes, this is a space for me’ and feel comfortable,” Carrie said of her intentions. “I really wanted people to feel included [regardless of faith or spiritual inclination].”
While Carrie believes that everyone faces similar challenges in life, she attests to customers who walk through her door is the only one with the power to decide what is powerful to them and what will bring them peace.
“What I’ve learned from talking to people over the last 15 years is that it’s all different,” she said. “There’s no formula for being content.”
Carrie spends her time helping patrons realize where they place meaning and how that affects their perspective and actions based on that perspective. The service of helping other people outweighs any monetary needs she has for Stonekeepers.
“My business model has been to give the community something it wants to support and to give more than we receive,” Carrie said. “It’s incredibly fulfilling.”
Giving is a huge portion of Stonekeepers business model, as seen through their Crystal Grid Project. They often give away gleaming stones and ask that customers bury them along with the negative experiences they feel at the time of coming in. With this project, their stones have been spread across the state, the nation and the world.
In recent years, Carrie has introduced though Stonekeepers a multitude of events and gatherings that require spending little to no money at all.
She wanted to host events that would bring people into the store and offer an open spiritual space to the community. Knowing that people can easily feel spiritually isolated or intimidated by trying new tools for empowerment, she wanted to bring an opportunity for them to get together.
“I felt like I was getting a vibe that people wanted to come here, but they didn’t want to spend money,” Carrie said. “I wanted to come up with a reason for people to come here that has nothing to do with spending money because I want people to come into the store.”
Stonekeepers currently hosts a Meditation Club, Healing with Herbs & Plants, Energy Shares and Spiritual Empowerment groups and Rocktail Hour on Friday and Saturday nights from 6-8 p.m. They also have designated spaces, like the altar, to host various tools used for energetic purification.
The store will continue to expand and evolve with time to provide a number of spiritual outlets. Eventually, Carrie wants to have a station where customers can create their own prayer beads using pendants and colored beads in colors and numbers that represent something to them. The idea is that they would make a spiritual tool start to finish with a unique intention.
She plans to bring in anything and everything that can uplift and help customers let go of stress.
During the government shutdown last year, Stonekeepers noticed a dip in profits that almost put them under. It was during those two weeks that Carrie and her employees developed their line of external healing oil and herb blends aptly called S.O.S or Sundries of Spirit.
“I thought wouldn’t it have more intention if the people who work here, who already have such great intentions for our customers, could put those energies and intentions into a product,” she said.
Instead of feeling helpless, they realized they could only affect their mindset and immediate environment. They poured their energy into S.O.S. line and have seen a spike in profits ever since.
“I feel very positive and that we do a lot for [the community],” Carrie said. “The people that do know about us are so meaningful. I want people to get an uplifting and positive vibes just from being here.”
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