Last week I had the pleasure of visiting Witching Hour Provisions in Contookook for the first time. For those of you who have never been to Contookook, it is a cute little downtown in Hopkinton, just west of Concord. Definitely worth a visit, especially now that they have an eco-friendly store of their own.
Witching Hour Provisions, owned and operated by Alyssa McKeon and her husband, Luke, began as a storefront to sell their popular home-roasted coffee, but they knew they wanted to offer Contookook residents something else - a place to buy eco-friendly low and zero waste goods and refill their household cleaners and body products.
I was immediately struck by Witching Hour's calm vibe, complete with muted colors, potted plants, and gentle music. This is the kind of store I could hang out in. And several people were hanging out while I was there - visiting with Alyssa, picking up coffee, and refilling. I overheard a man raving about the coffee: "best coffee! None better! In the top 99th percentile” and several conversations about local events and people. People really love the coffee, Alyssa told me, because it tastes good and it's good for the planet and for people.
Alyssa was very friendly, knowledgeable, and open to suggestions about how to serve the community, which is her main goal. It was really wonderful to hear the enthusiasm in her voice as she spoke of partnering with local artists and craftspeople and promoting other small businesses, especially women and minority run businesses. She hopes Witching Hour Provisions will become a weekly stop on people's way home to pick up their necessities and to meet with friends and neighbors.
Alyssa is humble and relatable when she describes her own eco journey. After learning about the social and environmental impacts of coffee, she knew she could do better. They bought environmentally friendly coffee from small farms and packaged it in compostable bags, but making these changes had them rethinking many of their own purchases and practices. They are working on reducing their paper and plastic waste and use many of the products they offer at Witching Hour in their own home.
Alyssa and Luke look for three criteria when choosing items for their store. Eco-friendly is a must, but they also try to support women-run and minority-run businesses, and to focus on products made in the United States and Canada. The refill station offers the gamut of cleaners, detergents, bath products, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. There are up cycled containers for free and mason jars for sale, or you can bring your own containers, as I did.
I loved browsing the innovative and beautiful products on display throughout the store. There is a section with fun kits to make your own candles, dye your own fabric, learn to sprout seeds, and repair kits, which made me think Witching Hour would be a great place to do some birthday and holiday shopping. There is also, a lovely little baby and kid section with clothing and toys.
I filled several containers and am excited to try some new detergent pods and a totally package free conditioner bar that smells wonderful. As I was leaving, Alyssa told me she loves that people leave her store with a tangible thing they can bring home and enjoy. It brings me joy, she said and smiled.