CLARKS SUMMIT — John and Tammy “Tay” Shenkel moved to the area from Stem, North Carolina two years ago and realized their dream when they opened weedz at 103 South State St.
The name for the store was given to them from the father of one of their friends. The Shenkels were always in the woods being “weedz” as walking through stickers or a pukerbush.
Although the new store is currently closed due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, it is still accepting online orders at pickeyweedz.com.
“We decided to open the store as the closest we could find were in upstate New York and several miles away in Jim Thorpe,” said John Shenkel. Opening a store and serving as the hub for the community is something we have dreamed about for years. The response has been amazing, and we can’t say enough good things about the town and our neighbors.”
The store sells incense, statuary, tarot cards, candles, books, handcrafted besoms (brooms) and whisks, hand blown glass, grade A crystals, gems and geodes, handforged ritual tools, fair trade handmade clothing and jewelry and bulked dried herbs and teas.
“Our store is open to anyone and everyone so long as everyone is respectful of each other’s beliefs or lack thereof,” said John Shenkel. “We have items from a wide range of traditions including the Abrahamic and Eastern belief systems. Our goal is to be representative of as many belief systems as we can fit into the store.
“We are primally a metaphysical Pagan store, but we have a great amount of respect for everyone’s points of view. We want to give everyone an opportunity to find something unique that is meaningful to them. A metaphysical store ... isn’t just a place to buy things. It should be a place to experience and to feel like you can be yourself.”
John Shenkel explains the Pagan religion.
“Paganism is an umbrella term represented of a broad range of nature-based practices, spirituality and or esoteric belief systems. Just as in the Abrahamic religions there are expanding number of sects, groups and religions within the Pagan community each with their own specific tenets and each with a specific tradition of practice. There is no right or wrong way to practice with all spirituality a large part of practice comes from instinct and personal growth.”
“I have been Pagan over 30 years,” said John Shenkel. “I was raised in rural Michigan and spent most of my childhood in the woods hunting, fishing and hiking. My family was originally from the area around Pittsburg and some had roots in Pennsylvania Dutch tradition.
“My church was always the woods as it was the best place to just breath. I was introduced to an actual Pagan tradition by a friend in Michigan and continue to be active though my wife and I have solitary which means without a formal coven or group for some time.”
“I was born and raised Christian attending Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical and Catholic services and I had too many questions,” said Tammy Shenkel. “I began to study theology at the age of 10, reading everything I could get my hands on about the various religious beliefs and branched out into authors like Campbell, Sagan, Nietzche and the great philosophers and various mythologies which lead me to Paganism.”
The store owners are looking for new artists, crafters and wholesalers around the world. They are planning to grow their stock and also offer booking space for tarot and other divination practice as well as Reiki practitioners in the weeks to come.
John Shenkel has a daughter, Adelaide who lives near Atlanta GA. Tammy Shenkel has a daughter, Shanell who lives in North Carolina. They have two grandchildren, Peyton and Brayden.
“We could not be more excited to have met so many of this community already in our first few weeks,” said John.
“The response has been overwhelmingly positive, and I can’t tell you how many times we have been told how much the community needed a store like ours. That makes all the long days and nights that go into building a business like this worth it. The community is vibrant, progressive and welcoming to the Pagan community in and around the area. We can’t say enough how much we love living here and can’t wait to meet more of the community.”
This community has been unbelievably supportive since we moved here. I cannot believe how much you all come together when there is a need. It’s humbling, and I’m so happy we found this wonderful place,” said Tammy Shenkel.