Saturday, July 20, 2024

Williamsburg woman brings apothecary, herbal treatments to Norge storefront

Earlier this month, Amanda Bates did some testing in her home kitchen for certain product recipes, including a coffee scrub pictured here. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Green Cauldron Apothecary)
Earlier this month, Amanda Bates did some testing in her home kitchen for certain product recipes, including a coffee scrub pictured here. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Green Cauldron Apothecary)

Amanda Bates grew up accustomed to seeing a plethora of jars and canned goods stored around her family’s home in small-town Maine.

“I always thought it was normal to have hundreds of jars of flowers and roots in your kitchen,” Bates said. “As I got older, I realized that wasn’t really the normal.”

Bates, who now lives in Williamsburg and is a mother herself, is turning her upbringing and lifelong hobby into a business.

On Oct. 1, Bates will open the Green Cauldron Apothecary in Norge, selling salves, balms, herbs and other custom-designed homeopathic remedies.

“I’ve always made these types of things for friends and family,” she said, adding that her friends often suggested she sell her products on Etsy or other small vendor websites. “But every time I’ve gone out to buy these products … there’s no place to buy them.”

Bates received the keys to her new storefront, at 7191 Richmond Road, Suite B, earlier this month and is working on renovating the shop to her specifications.

Growing up

Bates’ upbringing is a crucial piece of her holistic lifestyle and business.

Bates, her mother and grandmother grew their own vegetables and canned and stored them through the winter in a cedar closet. The family also bought heirloom seeds to plant each summer.

“Everything imaginable, my nana would try,” she said.

Much of Bates’ products are made based off her learned skills over time, but she will also have books and manuals on hand to help her put together products.

“A lot of it is knowledge from my family, but I’ll have a lot of books in store for people to look at because I don’t know everything,” she said.

Much of Bates’ products are made based off her learned skills over time, but she will also have books and manuals on hand to help her put together products. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Green Cauldron Apothecary)
Much of Bates’ products are made based off her learned skills over time, but she will also have books and manuals on hand to help her put together products. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Green Cauldron Apothecary)

Bates plans to offer a customization process so customers can pick out their own ingredients for Bates to make into her products. Certain herbal remedies are known to help soothe maladies like headaches or tension, and she plans to help customers concoct whatever items they feel could help them most.

Green Cauldron Apothecary will also sell shower vapor discs that contain certain herbs carrier oils and essential oils, as well as “anxiety balms” and “sleep salves,” which she uses on her own children.

Bates plans to help remove a step in the process that challenged her as an independent buyer throughout her adult life: She will sell small quantities of herbs that otherwise need to be bought in bulk online.

Motherhood

Bates was a stay-at-home mother for seven years before she decided to return to work.

Earlier this year, Bates got a retail job at a local vape shop. At that job, she was able to “get my foot in the door for interacting with people” and get used to a customer service-style job.

About two months ago, Bates realized being away from her children during the day would only be worthwhile if she was her own boss doing something she loved.

The vape shop owner was supportive, and even gave some tips for starting a small business.

Cut to Aug. 14 — Bates received the keys to her new storefront in Norge.

The Green Cauldron Facebook page already has 192 followers as of 4 p.m. Monday. 

Opening up

When renovations are completed at the storefront, the business will open in October with a floor-to-ceiling, 12-foot-wide apothecary shelf. 

While much of the business will be an open floor plan, there will be a playroom for both Bates’ children and those belonging to her customers who want a few moments to shop on their own.

Bates hopes Colonial Williamsburg’s recreated apothecary could inspire some locals and guests to visit a modern-day, working apothecary — which, in a lot of ways, has not changed throughout history.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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