For the second time in recent weeks I feel like I’m in a scene in a Harry Potter movie. I am visiting one of downtown Bolton’s newest shops, Drake Apothecary, and to me it feels like it belongs in London’s Leadenhall Market, the film location for Diagon Alley.
Evoking curiosity and a slight sense of magic the tiny shop’s interior is a sensual jumble of shelves neatly lined with books and shiny dark glass bottles, essential oils, hanging bouquets of dried herbs, and air that’s filled with wonderful aromas.
Shopkeeper Michelle Marino first learned about herbs from her grandmother. She taught Michelle about their medicinal and emotional benefits, how to grow them, and how to use them in tinctures and home remedies.
Formerly a Social Worker, with 15 years in the industry, Michelle gave birth to her daughter Madeline 6 years ago. While Madeline was a baby Michelle began to be concerned about the chemical content of over-the-counter products.
At that time she found natural products to be scarce so she upgraded her skills by taking a herbalist course out of California and began making her own. Family and friends started lining up to buy her goods and over the years her customer base grew by word of mouth. Last December Michelle opened her herbal and aromatherapy shop.
Everything is hand produced and hand bottled to keep the environmental footprint of her business as small as possible. And custom order requests are growing as well. Requests for a natural pain cream, a cellulite skin oil, and even custom oil blends for depression are among the highest demand. Also a Master Level Reiki practitioner Michelle enthusiastically points out that “All of my products are made with positive intentions and love.”
This summer sales of her natural bug spray “Buggin’ Out” have been steadily on the rise. “That product was over a year in the making” says Michelle. “I really wanted the safest and most effective bug spray I could produce. I did a lot of testing and even investigated until I found an ingredient I could add as a natural preservative.” Caledon’s equestrian community have been excited to hear that Michelle now carries one for horses as well.
The long-time Bolton resident is completely passionate about herbs and essential oils. “I want to continue learning and creating products that make a difference in people’s lives. And I’m thrilled at how quickly Drake Apothecary has been accepted. The store is doing very well and we already have plans for expansion.”
“This all started because as a parent and as a consumer I felt I should have the right to choose what goes on my skin and on my child.”
Drake Apothecary is located at 10 Chapel Street in Bolton and is open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day but Sunday. Visit the shop or website DrakeApothecary.com