BRIDGEPORT — The Rev. Stitch Jones removed a few bottles of colorful bath soaps from the shelves, shook them up and explained how scorned and unrequited love is the oldest story in the book.
"Normally, it's a good portion of our business" at Augustine's Eternal Gifts and Spiritual Goods, 3327 S. Halsted St., he said.
"To be honest, not a lot of people come in here and say 'I'm so happy' and want to just celebrate their happiness...People come in here with their deepest hurts...it's [women] falling for a married man. And baby mama drama is common."
The store has been a South Halsted Street staple for 22 years. This month, the owner, the Rev. Carolyn Hennes, celebrates the store's 10th anniversary in its current location, tucked between the new Bridgeport Comics and Games and an electronics repair shop.
Jones and Hennes stressed that it's not all negativity inside the eclectic storefront. Not in the least.
The store's offerings — lotions and potions, crystals and candles — can help heal the spiritually wayward, pave the way for financial prosperity and spice up flatlining relationships, they said.
"We meet people where they are at spiritually and emotionally and help them back onto their path," she said.
And Valentine's Day brings with it the opportunity for love to blossom and, perhaps, for a little sexy time. Augustine's can help with that, too.
Customers are routinely offered consultations to narrow down what might be the best concoction. For romance, maybe that's little rose oil dabbed on a candle for aromatherapy, maybe some lavender oil rubbed on your wrist.
"We're dealing with a lot of energy, certain scents and certain states of mind," Jones said.
There are hundreds of oils to choose from behind the counter and they're all ready for mixing or bottling depending on the vibe Jones and others pick up from a customer.
The store also sells handmade jewelry, spirituality tomes, tarot cards, incense and candles for virtually every scenario.
As for matters of the heart, Jones said it's important for customers to adjust their priorities and to think before tacking action. For example: Wishing for a cheating spouse to return to a relationship might work, but expecting them to remain faithful might not.
"Ironically a lot of people get what they ask for," Jones said. "And that can be good or bad."
Results are not guaranteed.