(Above photo: Owners Aidan Alexander and Aundrea Lowery-Alexander of The Sanctuary)
If you are looking for a place in Memphis that is inky, goth, queer, welcoming, and saturated with history, The Sanctuary is a place to not only shop, but grow, heal and experience community in an unconventional way. Aundrea Lowery- Alexander and Aidan Alexander, co-owners of this unique establishment, are the embodiment of the “go-getter” mentality. They built their business model, opened their store, and got married all within a year’s time. They opened The Sanctuary in late February and have been cranking out their spooky, artistic, and metaphysical gifts ever since.
Meeting and befriending Aiden and Aundrea was a bit of random luck. I had walked into Black Lodge one day, just trying to find something to get into, and saw them working their booth which at that time was entitled “Altar Girl.” They were so approachable, but also very informative about their products– I knew they were going to be making loud and beautifully bold steps in the city of Memphis.
More recently we sat down and talked, and I got to go deeper with the couple about the infrastructure of their blossoming business.
Whitney: What prompted you to name your business The Sanctuary Memphis?
Aundrea & Aidan: It sounds welcoming and inclusive, and it leaves room for expansion. We strive for it to be that kind of vibe when people come in.
Why do you believe The Sanctuary is a good place for Memphis?
We had seen similar places where we lived before and had the idea to put it together here with our own aesthetic added. We’ve seen places similar to ours in Nashville, Portland, Seattle, and New Orleans, and there is so much of that energy here in Memphis. The music, art, and just the history. Memphis is just such a great place where we felt that people can have that exchange and can share those experiences with one another.
What makes your shop unique?
We believe that iron sharpens iron–we compliment each other but what sets us apart is that it’s not just a shop. It’s everything combined. People can come and receive in-depth healing and participate in workshops that are not always offered in Memphis. For example, past life regression hypnotherapy, reiki, etc. It’s just a place of empowerment, and everything in our shop is through locals of the city.
If you were a tourist, why would you come to The Sanctuary?
It’s an experience, and it would be a miss not to check us out. It’s like when we travel–we couldn’t go through Nashville without stopping by Hail or Paxton Gate in Portland…It’s something bizarre, something unique. Memphis is a destination for history, and anyone passing through and not stopping by would be missing out on history.
Would you consider yourselves travelers? If so, what did traveling bring to the aesthetics of the store and the services that you offer?
Oh yes, we definitely have traveled. Between us both we have been to Japan, Sicily, and even Budapest. We have been to, collectively, 3 continents and 11 countries.
Do you feel like being a queer couple has made an impact on how you run and market your business?
We try to make sure we are putting things out publicly and promoting inclusivity, especially highlighting the alternative and queer culture. There is a lot of overlap in being a minority, it’s important to reflect the diversity of Memphis. We want our shop to be the embodiment of that even down to the practitioners we work alongside.
What special services do you offer?
We offer metaphysical and spiritual services such as: past life regression hypnotherapy, wax readings, tarot readings, bone readings, reiki, psychics, shamanic alchemical acupressure massage, primal movement, astrology/natal chart reading, sacral embodiment sessions, and various other workshops.
Aundrea and Aidan are definitely a couple that has brought a whole new flavor to Memphis and the minute someone steps into their place of business will find it to be a safe space, a refuge, a sanctuary. I definitely did.
The Sanctuary Memphis store hours are Wednesday through Sunday from 12pm to 7pm.
Book services and workshops at thesanctuarymemphis.com
Find on Facebook The Sanctuary Memphis and Instagram @thesanctuarymemphis