The Sanctuary, located behind the Malco Studios on the Square in Midtown, opened its doors in February.
Aundrea Lowery Alexander and Aidan Alexander are the owners.
The Sanctuary is a retail store that sells "art, oddities and antiquities", and a spiritual center which offers reiki and tarot readings.
Aundrea was born in New Orleans. She moved to Memphis in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. Aidan lived in Portland, working for Nike at the time he moved.
Aidan lived in Memphis previously. Aundrea was invited to lunch by Aidan when he visited the city.
Aidan said, "She used to be a close friend of mine. There was no romance back then." "We went to lunch and she had a Sumerian tattoo. "Is it cuneiform?" I asked. She said, "Oh, yes, that's etana." Then we all geeked out."
They got married one week before The Sanctuary opened.
Aundrea, like Aidan, is an artist. Aundrea makes bone art while Aidan creates gilded animal.
Aundrea explained, "We were selling things out of our house and hauling them all over the city." "[We] thought, 'We have enough talented artists in the area to make a big run.
The pair then began searching for a shopfront. They were shown spaces that didn't work. Either it was the wrong location or they didn't like the aesthetics. Their real estate agent then showed them the home at 2094 Court Ave. In the 1970s, Jack Kenner's photography studio was located in this Victorian house. The Victorian home features stained glass accents, picture moldings and other beautiful details. The glove-like fit was perfect.
Aundrea: "As soon we walked in we said, It's Perfect'."
Pendants and pendulums are available in the store. There are beeswax and succulent candles, interesting lamps and paintings. Some items are more unusual -- like the art made with bat skulls, or the octopus jar.
The couple worked with local artists at various markets in the town. Some had never seen their work displayed in a shop before. Aundrea explained that the oddities come from many different sources. She has been collecting for many years, and also uses other sources.
The Sanctuary offers spiritual services upstairs. The front room, which is said to contain Helen Keller's couch of fainting, can be used by those who cannot manage the narrow stairs.
"We have a multicultural approach." Aundrea stated that they were trying to include all communities.
The Sanctuary is a place for practitioners to gather. Pencie Ryland prepares to read an Akashic record upstairs. She said it was like reading someone's soul. She will delve into past lives and current memories.
She said, "We start with prayer and then go straight into your records." It's like receiving a loving embrace every time you look at your records. You can come back as many times as you like.
The Sanctuary offers spiritual service packages. Aidan explained that it is a way to introduce clients to the different services. There are more than 15 different spiritual services.
The April package includes a wax and bone reading as well as a Tarot reading. In the wax reading the practitioner will put hot wax in iced water and read the patterns that it creates.
The couple founded the Sanctuary to create a space for community. The couple holds a Victorian Tea Party at the end each month. Workshops are held on tarot and spiritual cleansing. They have a Book Club.
Aundrea stated, "We wanted something unique."