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Thursday, June 13, 2024
Business: There’s nothing empty about Void Of Course Crystals
Singing bowls are a meditation and relaxation tool says owner of Void of Course Crystals Roberta Bernat. RICHARD WRIGHT

A gallery, a clothing store, an astrological think factory, a place for learning and healing and just plain good vibes — this is Void Of Course Crystals, Niagara-on-the-Lake’s newest one-stop-shop for everything mindful, oddly stylish and of the stars.

Owner and operator Roberta Bernat is a self-described entrepreneurial risk-taker, psychic, artist and lover of all things fine, mystical, spiritual and hard to discover.

“I’ve done it all,” she says, meandering through her new storefront full of crystals, jewelry, clothing, fashion accessories, psychic paraphernalia, art and literature.

She decided, however, to put more of her focus into this business and make it a priority in her life.

“I took time off to be a psychic,” she says. “I would do the odd show where I would sell crystals and different things, but I felt, no, it is time to expand and learn more skills. So, this is it.”

Located at 376 Mary St., the small, bright and compartmentalized space is like a walk through a modern den of antiquity where one could expect the whisper-like voice of a shaman calling you forward from behind a zodiac tapestry.

There are few brand names in this space.

It’s kind of like a well-manicured garage or yard sale where one never knows what kind of hand-crafted treasure may jump off the wall or be found inside a precisely positioned display case or clothing rack.

The waft of incense catches you as you enter. It’s inviting, but not overpowering.

“In this space, I feel like I don’t want it to be overwhelming with scent,” she says, passing by a shelving unit of tea light candles, incense sticks with sage and smouldering shells nearby. 

“I want people to feel comfortable here so I brought in my favourites that I like smelling,” she says, pointing out brands that are important to her, such as Goloka Incense from India. 

“I support this company because they are charitably-oriented … and everything is clean and pure.”

The business’s products and wares are plentiful and eclectic with a focus on the non-traditional and, says Bernat, to help build and repair relationships with oneself.

“I have a space to book numerology classes, to book psychic readings, to book meditations, to have tarot card classes and for someone to just come in alone and to have a personal psychic reading.”

Getting to the proposed reading and meditation rooms in Bernat’s space, customers have to pass by a line of clothing that is exotic and not-of-this realm — the realm of North America, that is.

“I have clothes from Nepal. I wear clothes from this company. They are so stylish. At first I thought, ‘Nepal, what do they know about design?'” she says.

Turns out, they know a lot, she says.

“The clothes are beautiful and super summery and I want everyone to buy these so I can buy their fall and winter clothes. They are that nice.”

Finally, the store’s pièce (or pièces) de résistance: adorning the walls of the back hallway are selections of art from Bernat’s favourite watercolours and acrylics from some of her most-admired local artists such as Graham Sibley of St. Catharines.

“I am going to call him a new artist because he hasn’t been doing it that long,” she says. “He’s had occupations and never thought about art and then in his later years during retirement, he said, ‘Ok, I am picking up a hobby.’

“Wickedly talented!” she says. “I love that he is on the wall here.”

Another artist adorned on Bernat’s wall whose pieces are also available for sale is Beverly Sneath.

Fawning over a collection of Sneath’s watercolours, Bernat is genuine in her desire to share these pieces with the world.

“This is skill,” she says. “She knows tricks. How she gets the light, how she gets the background, how she gets the blurry tones. She’s just good.”

Bernat is also an artist of wartercolours and acrylics although she prefers to show off the works of others before her own. 

“I was prolific,” she says. “But I felt it was time to take a break. I don’t have to do the same thing forever.”

The business, however, does have a long-term goal, she says.

Bernat has made a promise to herself to be here over the long haul for the people of Niagara-on-the-Lake and is excited to be in business in a community that has welcomed her so kindly.


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