Healing Charlotte Podcast: Abby Glen, Shelves Bookstore

Photo by ELEANORKATH Photography.

This episode is with Abby Glen, the owner and founder of Shelves Bookstore. Shelves just celebrated their 2-year anniversary as an online and pop-up new book store. Shelves started as a pop-up store partnering with local coffee shops when COVID-19 hit. Abby quickly shifted to an online model and has now moved to offering both options to purchase books. Abby has wanted to open a bookstore for a long time but waited until she got out of debt first. In preparation, she did a lot of research online on how to run a bookstore, and started to reach out to local businesses to partner with her.

Abby’s history with books starts back when she was young remembering the encyclopedias in her home and visiting the library often with her family. As a teenager in Philly, she started going to a bookstore and was pleased to find books that she could relate to. Around this same time, she joined a book club through Essence magazine and was delivered “Flyy Girl” by Omar Tyree.

“It was the first time I read a book that I could see myself and my neighborhood, and my friends, and my family, and my school, and everything on the pages.”

From there, Abby began swapping the books around to her friend group, much like she does with her “Reading is a Lifestyle” bookclub. This subscription service launched in February but is not a traditional bookclub. You pick 3 categories of books you are open to and each month you will be surprised with a book from 1 of your 3 categories. They also conduct a monthly zoom hangout where readers discuss their own books and hear about the others that were sent out.

“The only reason I’ve managed to get as far as I’ve gotten to or where I have gotten to is because I stayed curious and I’ve managed to convince a couple of other people to be curious with me.”

Abby enjoys working with people who are serious in changing narratives. She likes people who are curious like her and have an open mind to consider new perspectives or new ways of doing things. She is currently partnered with Enderly Coffee and Mint Hill Roasting Company for her pop ups. As far as her own self-care, Abby enjoys journaling and spending time with friends. She wants to heal Charlotte’s literary scene. Currently, we only have 1 other independent new bookseller and few authors come to town. Abby wants to change that and is looking forward to her brick and mortar store in the future as a gathering space for fellowship, friendship, and camaraderie. She believes by doing this and supporting other small businesses here it creates our city’s culture. She is inspired by author and therapist Nedra Glover Tawwab who recently wrote, “Set Boundaries, Find Peace.”

“It’s your people who determine what the culture’s gonna be and your small businesses set the tone of a city.”

Visit their website to purchase books or join the bookclub. If you live in Mecklenburg County, local pickup is available at Enderly Coffee, some areas are eligible for local delivery, or you can have your books shipped anywhere. Follow along on social media or subscribe to the newsletter for all information including the next pop-up location.

Healing Charlotte Podcast: Alicia Martin, Plant Therapy

Alicia Martin, the owner of Plant Therapy, is on a mission to improve lives by fostering the love of plants here in Charlotte. Her journey started back in childhood with outdoor plants and her parents teaching her the names of them. Later on in college, she didn’t have any outdoor space, so she began bringing plants into her home. Starting the business wasn’t a dream of hers but more of encouragement from her friends and husband because she is so passionate about and good with plants. Plant Therapy began in September 2019 with a pop-up market and hasn’t stopped since.

Alicia provides consulting to gain an understanding of her clients including their physical space, light, travel schedule, and how much time they want to dedicate to care. She can then bring the potted plants to your home. She also can do virtual house calls to troubleshoot improving the plant’s health. You can find Alicia at pop-up markets, private, and semi-private events.

“During quarantine, people started looking at plants. We are all stuck in our homes and they are looking for ways to beautify our spaces. Aside from that, plants also bring a sense of relaxation, it gives you something to care for and nurture, and learn.”

She loves working with new plant parents to give them the confidence and knowledge to be successful. Alicia loves the connections she has made with other small businesses whether it’s another plant company, a planter company, or a macramé maker.

“Think of it not only as an investment of money but also some of your time and you are going to reap the benefits, you are going to get a lot of pleasure out of it.”

Alicia’s self-care revolves around plants and nature. She absolutely loves taking care of plants and talking about them, strolling through a nursery, or being outdoors. Nature is very calming for her. She wants to heal Charlotte because this is where her footprint is and she is aware of all of the suffering people go through. She has a desire to create a better community for others and especially her 3 young boys. A couple of healers in Charlotte who she is inspired by are Nikki at Bohemian Stylehouse because of the conversations they have and feeling seen as well as Ladara McKennon of Ladara Fine Art who creates beautiful, colorful paintings.

“That’s why I want to heal Charlotte; obviously I want to heal the world, but Charlotte is my footprint right now and so I’m going to do what I can to help the people closest to me.”

You can check out Alicia’s schedule of events on her website as well as follow her on Instagram, or email her mosslady@planttherapyclt.com.

Healing Charlotte Podcast: Challise Cantleberry, Changed Choices

On today’s episode, we meet Challise Cantleberry, the Director of Detention Center Services at Changed Choices. Changed Choices is a local non-profit that supports women impacted by incarceration. They do this through the Mecklenburg County Detention Center, North Carolina area prisons, and in the community. When women are residents at the detention center, Changed Choices can support them through life skills and parenting classes, mentorship program, and counseling services. If women are accepted into their program as clients and are residing at North Carolina state prisons, Changed Choices supports them through their wraparound services including bible studies, pen pals, mentorship, substance abuse curriculum, and support for their families. Once the women in the program have completed their sentences, the community services include mentorship, bible study, assistance with housing and job searching. Changed Choices also has the “Ruth Snyder Home” named after the founder where they can support 5-6 women in the home. Challise mentions that some of the challenges that their clients face once they are in the community include finding a job and housing which can be difficult depending on what is on their record. Family reunification can also be a challenge for them.

“It’s a message of somebody on the outside knows this woman and she has someone who is paying attention to what’s going on and she’s valued and loved and all of a sudden, things change, they are just not forgotten in that prison.”

During COVID, Changed Choices has been unable to provide in person services at the detention center and local prisons. Their mentors switched over to writing letters and their classes were held virtually in the pods. Counseling services ceased at the detention center but were able to continue virtually at the prisons. They started an initiative where they collected items to go into “Encouragement Bags” for the staff at the prisons and detention center.

“That’s why we need second chances; sometimes people really aren’t given a good start and situations perpetuate bad decisions.”

Changed Choices started in 1999 by a woman named Ruth Snyder who was asked to come mentor a couple of women at the detention center. This turned into classes and Ruth recruited other women to join her.

“They look just like us. They just need somebody to give them a second chance that they’ve changed their ways and they want to live a life that’s pleasing to the Lord. So they are attending churches and part of a congregation, they are working for employers all around town, and their kids go to school just like our kids.”

Before working at Changed Choices, Challise had a background in Social Work and Women’s studies. She had a desire to move south and through a friend was connected to the organization. She has now been there 5 years. Self-care for her includes her faith(family and church family) and getting outside(walking, bike riding, and swimming). Challise loves working with the COOOL(Changing Our Outlook on Life) mentors.

Changed Choices could use support as they are a non-profit that is funded by individuals, churches, and grants. Financial support is accepted on their website and by mail, volunteers are needed as mentors, card writers, and pen pals. Visit their website to sign up for the newsletter to learn about what is going on in the justice system and current needs.

Challise is inspired by Brave Step and Crystal Emerick(a former podcast guest) for the partnerships they have formed and what she is doing with her organization. She also enjoys working with Beds for Kids, Dress for Success, and Fashion and Compassion, all Charlotte organizations.

Healing Charlotte Podcast: Hannah Kay Herdlinger, Thread Talk

Today’s conversation is with Hannah Kay Herdlinger, the founder of Thread Talk.  The company came from her personal story as a domestic violence survivor who wanted to give back to other survivors and shelters.  Thread Talk sells blankets with names such as “Confidence, Love, Serenity, Strength, and Resilience” with 10% of the proceeds going back to local domestic violence shelters through domesticshelters.org.  This website includes many resources as well as “live wish lists” for individual shelters.  It was important for Hannah Kay to share her story because of the power of telling your story and connecting to others who have been through something similar.  When she opened up about her personal story she started hearing more and more stories of domestic violence.  Currently the statistics are 1 in 4 women and and 1 and 9 men are survivors.  Her mission was to help start that difficult conversation.  She has also created a “Thread Talk Trailblazer” program to help spread the word, give survivors a way to give back, and to help develop a community around this.

“The way I discovered I could do that best was by selling cozy products such as blankets that everyone has in their home and uses all the time and then donating 10% of my proceeds back to domestic violence shelters.”

The pandemic has created some shifts in the domestic violence space.  Before last year, they had a hotline for survivors to reach out and since the pandemic started, created a texting/written platform.  This was implemented since many survivors may be at home with their abusers and cannot call a hotline for assistance.  Shelters remain overcrowded and underfunded but this last year they have worked with hotels and other programs for collaborations to support survivors.

“It feels so good to know that you are not alone and that someone else can relate to something that you are going through.”

Domesticshelters.org has been influential in Hannah Kay’s work as she appreciates the resources they offer, the survivors stories, and inspiring songs.  In Charlotte, there are resources such as Safe Alliance, The Umbrella Center, and Mecklenburg County Community Support Services all geared towards supporting domestic violence shelters.  Hannah Kay moved to Charlotte after she literally picked it out of a hat.  Since moving here she has found it to be an amazing place where people rally around each other.  Her advice for those seeking healing is to let it be known to others that you are in that you will have someone who could listen to you and support you, not to mention may offer referrals.  A healer in Charlotte that Hannah Kay is inspired by is Greg Jackson of Heal Charlotte.  She has been amazed at the work he has done and most recently how he supported our neighbors at tent city.

You can purchase a blanket from Thread Talk on their website here.

Healing Charlotte Podcast: Meghan Lowery, Honest Elderberry Co

Today’s podcast guest is Meghan Lowery, the owner and founder of Honest Elderberry Co. The company officially started in March 2019 and was especially vital in supporting her family during 2020 when her husband lost his job. Honest Elderberry Co sells syrup in 3 sizes as well as a “make your own kit” where one can get creative with adding their own sweetener or no sweetener at all. She has some more offerings coming out in the future including an elderberry body butter that is currently in the works. Meghan has always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a desire to help people especially after a lifestyle change many years ago.

Elderberries have been used for centuries for their anti-viral properties and some of Meghan’s customers have used her syrup for their inflammation. Elderberries are also known for their bioflavonoid properties meaning that they attack sick cells and viral strains. By this, research studies have shown that they can shorten the duration and intensity of an illness. Meghan’s syrup also uses aroniaberries which have the highest anti-oxidant properties of any fruit. Other ingredients include organic cinnamon sticks, organic ginger root, organic whole clove, and North Carolina/South Carolina honey. All of these ingredients together can create a powerful immune support. Meghan suggests taking 1 tablespoon daily for general wellness and can up the dosage during an illness. The difference in her syrup versus a more commercialized brand is that it has to be refrigerated, meaning that it has no preservatives, alcohol, added sweeteners or thickeners. Honest Elderberry Co also has recipes on their social media for different ways to use the syrup including mocktails, glazes, and in smoothies.

“We use fresh, organic elderberries. We have a couple of partnerships with a couple of berry farmers throughout the United States. So we source our berries directly from them.”

Meghan loves building relationships in the community especially when she gets to meet customers at Farmer’s Markets or other events. She also enjoys working with her retail partners and her husband. He just created his own apparel line during this time called Amen Apparel Co. Counseling, eating well, and Christianity is what keeps her grounded. She wants to heal Charlotte because of her desire for people to have an experience with the healing powers of plants, herbs, and berries.

“First and foremost, I’m a big people person and I love getting out and building relationships with people and meeting people in the community. My favorite people I love working with is when I go to Farmer’s Markets and meet people I get to hear their story and I get to know who they are. That’s one of my most favorite things.”

It’s important to Meghan and her husband to also give back to the community. They have donated financially and products to several organizations including; Catawba Terrace Care Center, Children’s Attention Home, Palmetto Women’s Center, and the Uptown Farmer’s Market who has partnered with Roof Above. She is inspired be the following healers; Green Brother’s Juice who provide high quality smoothies and juices, Uptown Farmer’s Market, and Carolina Functional Nutrition.

If interested in buying some Honest Elderberry Syrup, they are located in 35 stores currently in the Charlotte region(click on the Locations tab) or you can order directly from their website. This Spring and Summer season, you can find Meghan and her family at the Uptown Farmer’s Market and various other events in the area.