All in the family: New owners take over InSpirit in downtown Northampton

Last modified: Sunday, June 30, 2013
NORTHAMPTON — When Rosie and Barry Goldstein of Northampton saw a “for sale” sign in the window of Inspirit Common late last year, they worried that the spiritual store on Northampton’s Main Street might go out of business or lose its character in a change of ownership.

“This was always Rosie’s favorite store,” said Barry Goldstein, a retired school psychologist. So the father-daughter team decided to buy it themselves.

The Goldsteins acquired Inspirit in November. Six months later, they’re making it official with a new name: Inspirit Crystals.

The previous owners, Emily and Bucky Sparkle, said they were pleased to find buyers who shared their vision for Inspirit as a hub for spiritual community as well as a retail establishment. “It was really a very affirming thing for us because we felt like … complete strangers love our store enough to understand that it needs to move forward,” said Emily Sparkle.

“In these days, where so many metaphysical stores are closing, it’s so nice to have one that’s thriving,” said Jess Steinman, intuitive card reader and psychic medium. Steinman is one of several psychics who give readings at Inspirit. She has been doing readings at the store since 2009, when it was located in Hadley.

Emily and Bucky Sparkle first opened Inspirit Common 2005. Sparkle asked to stay on one day a week as a “shop girl” after it changed hands, and she has helped the Goldsteins learn the ins and outs of their new store. Manager Bud Neiswender has also stayed on, and the Goldsteins said her presence has helped smooth the transition.

The Goldsteins said they’ve kept changes to a minimum while expanding the store’s selection of products.

“With customers’ input, we’ve increased the inventory, but tailored it to things that folks were asking for,” said Barry Goldstein.

The name change reflects Inspirit’s focus: crystals and stones, a longtime passion of Rosie Goldstein’s. “This is probably the only store that — besides A to Z — that if you are a stone person, you come here,” she said. Inspirit also sells candles, incense, jewelry, books, and other “gifts with meaning.”

Inspirit boasts a new Egyptian section, which grew from Rosie Goldstein’s interest in Egyptian spirituality. She hopes to offer a class on Egyptian deities and mysticism with one of the store’s psychic readers, Dr. Rick Martin.

The store hasn’t offered classes in a while, the Goldsteins said, but that’s something they’d like to bring back. Potential topics include the healing properties of crystals, tarot, mediumship development, numerology, astrology, and animal communication readings. Another goal is to expand Inspirit’s website to include an online store.

But in Rosie Goldstein’s view, what makes Inspirit special is its welcoming atmosphere and the community it fosters. The store attracts customers of all ages and spiritual backgrounds, she said.

“They can all find peace in one spot, and it’s wonderful to be a part of it,” she said.

“This is an area that’s drawing in a lot of interesting people that are spiritually seeking,” said customer Edward Moret, of Northampton. “We’re all on a quest to understand higher things in life, and this store gives us an opportunity to grow.” Rosie Goldstein, who previously worked in human services, said that helping and taking care of people is her calling. Owning and working at Inspirit “is just another way of making people happy,” she said.

Barry Goldstein agreed. “You don’t think of this as being one of the helping professions, but it feels like that,” he said.

And the helping goes both ways. The Goldsteins said that Inspirit’s regular customers have been instrumental in teaching them about the store and its inventory.

“To me one of the most amazing things about the store are the customers,” said Barry Goldstein.

Customers’ patience with the new owners and willingness to help “made a huge transition not as scary,” said Rosie Goldstein.

Rosie Goldstein said a lot of people have asked her, with some skepticism, what it’s like to go into business with her dad. “Actually it’s fine,” she said. “We get along really well.” She sometimes asks her father for help figuring out the financial side of things, she said, while they both agreed that she knows much more about Inspirit’s merchandise.

They certainly have disagreements, said Barry Goldstein, but they work them out. “Rosie is not shy about saying things that she disagrees with, and I also.” They did have to learn to keep the store life and home life separate, Rosie Goldstein said.

Rosie’s maternal grandparents, Lu and Hal Stubbs, fronted the money to buy Inspirit, and Barry Goldstein helps out with the store operations. “So it’s really a family venture,” he said.