The Cambrian

Exotic Nature store, a fixture in Cambria, to close after fire

Lissa McConnell has announced that she’ll close her nearly two-decade-old Exotic Nature retail store “in a month or so,” but will be “online again soon with our updated website,” she said on Facebook postings and private messages.

A Dec. 9 fire began on the second-story deck above the West Village shop location McConnell rented at 783 Main St. The blaze caused significant damage to the store where she sold her specially formulated soaps, women’s clothing, jewelry, aromatherapy, essential oils and more.

In a posting McConnell headlined “A Sparrow Rises from the Ashes,” she wrote that soon, Exotic Nature Online will begin operating out of her industrial-park production facility at 2535 Village Lane. The exact moving date will depend on a number of factors, she said in an online interview

The unit is “just the basics,” she said, but for now, “it’s what we have, and I’m quite grateful for a place to land for a while.” McConnell said she’s organizing that location “to accommodate my office, online business and storage for whatever is left from the Main Street shop.”

She estimated that, once the move is done, “we will open occasionally to the public at to-be-determined times,” especially for her “custom-blending customers and locals who want to stop by and pick up a product they’ve been using for years.”

McConnell said her decision was based on a lack of certainty about when repairs on the Main Street shop would begin, and the knowledge that “reconstruction will be extensive.”

She thanked her “many wonderful customers for all the years of support. I began this adventure in 1988, learning to make soap in my kitchen, and it’s been an amazing journey” — which, she added, is continuing and evolving.

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