CHICOPEE – A business that attracted people from around the region and from out of state to downtown Chicopee will be closing its doors at the end of the month.

The Herbarium has been in business more than 40 years, supplying customers with herbal remedies and advice. Its proprietor, Jonathan Evens, said the decision to close was the result of several factors.

He explained to Reminder Publishing that while the store survived the economic disaster of the pandemic, the supply chain for herbal products is still affected. “We can’t get all the herbs,” he said.

The shopping habits of people have also changed. While the shop offered in-person expert advice to its customers, Evans said that some customers would buy products from the Herbarium and then seek an on-line source for them.

These economic factors shaped the decision made by Evans and his wife Kathleen Duffy, who founded the store.

Being in business for more than 40 years has meant the customer base is multi-generational with the children of people who patronized the shop now coming to it, Evans noted. Their customers have often become friends.

“Saying we’re not going to be here anymore is brutal, absolutely brutal,” he said.

Duffy said the success of the store wasn’t necessarily economical over the decades.

“It doesn’t look on a balance sheet, it doesn’t look successful,” she explained. “But some of my biggest blessings have come through that little shop.”

Those blessings, she explained, include her husband and her third child, Jesse, who works at the shop as well. She and Evans met in the mid 1980s when her was a talk show host on the former WREB in Holyoke and he booked her as a guest. She had recently started her store with its initial location in Northampton. For most of the store’s life it has been located in Chicopee.

Duffy became a regular guest on Even’s program and a romance
She said her store was “a spiritual and ethical success” and added, “we never sold anything until we researched it.”

Duffy was a registered nurse who came to see the healing potential of herbal remedies. Because of the shop, she also was introduced to aromatherapy and became certified in that field. She noted she taught aromatherapy in 60 hospitals and in four counties.

“The benefits [of the shop] have outweighed the difficulties,” she said. Duffy added, “magical things happened.”

Reflecting on the store’s history, Evans said, “It’s hard to say thank you enough.”

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