Sterling Gallagher owns the Crystal Fox, a thriving New Age store located in Laurel, Maryland, where an estimated 1,000 Wiccans live. But it's not only "pagans," whom Gallagher defines as people who worship multiple gods, who have contributed to his store's success:
"More than half of our customers are non-pagan," Gallagher said.
Gallagher acknowledges a connection between popular culture and paganism. His store, a cornucopia of all things New Age, would fit seamlessly into the wizard world of a Harry Potter book. Oils, herbs and incense; crystals and tarot cards; brightly painted dragon statues; Celtic and Egyptian goddesses; crystal balls and sphinxes; books on witchcraft, New Age and magic; pastel-painted angels and pixies; witches' datebooks and calendars - the store is a candybox overflowing with consumer goodies.
The Harry Potter phenomenon has brought customers to his store, he noted. "More adults than children come in under the Harry Potter influence," he said.
"Dragons are also popular," he said. "It's the whole fantasy aspect. ... Once you enter into fantasy you have a much broader market."
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