‘All kinds of odds and ends’

GG’s Magical Emporium more than just a coffee shop

SHOP OWNER GERALD GIRARD shows off some of the merchandise at GG’s Magical Emporium, a shop that offers coffee, CBD oil products and a place to gather and talk in downtown Norway. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

NORWAY — For the record, the cannabidiol oil sold at GG’s Magical Emporium is not derived from marijuana.

It’s a common misconception, store owner Gerald Girard said. Because of that, people think his new business has some kind of illicit edge.

CBD oil does offer a number of benefits, Girard contends, but getting high is not one of them. His products comes from hemp, which does not have the tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, that makes marijuana intoxicating, he explained.

Popular as they are becoming, the CBD products — oil, edibles, even infused coffees — are just part of the eclectic merchandise mix that makes up Girard’s shop at 729 Main St. in Norway.

First, there’s the gourmet coffees from around the world. People can come in and sip in the store or take some home, either ground or in beans. For those not into coffee, he stocks seven to eight different kinds of hot chocolate as well.

MORE OF THE items for sale at GG’s Magical Emporium, including soy candles and jewelry. (Theresa Proudfit/Daily News photo)

A consignment area offers soy candles, glasses, knitted towels, even Tibetan jewelry. He also stocks hats, caps and T-shirts, tapestries. Another section has crystal balls, crystals and gems, tarot cards, incense.

“All kinds of odds and ends,” he said. “And if you want something else, I’ll order it for you.”

Girard, 62, opened the shop this past summer after retiring as a lineman with the city of Norway’s Electric Department after 32 years.

“I had to have something to do,” he said, adding, “I’d be in Florida right now otherwise.” His wife, Kathy, supported the move, he said.

Girard admittedly is a people person, so having the business gives him the public contact he prefers.

“It’s fun for me,” Girard explained. “I get to meet these young people, in their 20s, up to those in their 80s.”

Downtown Norway once was booming, Girard contends, but has stagnated. “I wanted to bring that back to the community, a little bit,” he said.

He thinks that community, especially its younger people, wants a venue to come and talk, interacting face-to-face rather than sitting somewhere texting or typing on a computer.

He described the shop as “a place for the community to start the day, a place for travelers to rest on their way, and a place for friends to gather and relate; GG’s Magical Emporium is open for everyone all ages, all religions, and all philosophies.”

His business also offers a back room for vaping, for those who might want to relax, listen to music and chat with others while indulging. That same space can be rented, and has been used for yoga and psychic readings. Friday nights, he hosts gatherings with rock ‘n’ roll.

He favors holistic and spiritual products, as he thinks there’s a need in the area. The CBD oil, he contends, fits that niche as a natural, plant-derived form of treatment that he claims has no side effects like prescription drugs.

All of his CBD items are pharmaceutical grade and tested, he said. But the stigma continues, even though his products could be consumed in quantity with no intoxication, though it might have other, less pleasant effects.

“There is nothing illegal here,” he said.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force from 1976 to 1980, Girard got into construction, working throughout the U.S. But they decided in 1986 to return to the area where he was born and raised so his four daughters could grow up here as well.

Now, he’s testing whether his business is the right fit for the community. Girard said he aims to expand but those plans hinge on sales.

He has only limited food — candy, chips, doughnuts — as serving anything more would require putting in sinks and other sanitary food prep areas. Again, demand will decide whether he goes that route.

“There’s something for anybody — or maybe not,” Girard said. “The vibrations are good … I’ll give it one year and see what transpires.”