Lotions and Potions still creating good vibes after 52 years
Lotions and Potions, a fragrance shop on Mill Avenue, prides itself in creating good vibes while manufacturing wonderfully fragranced and healthy body care for all.
At 420 S Mill Ave # 105, Tempe, AZ, Lotions and Potions conducts business in a popular area of Tempe.
Established in 1969 by Darlene Rosenbaum, Lotions and Potions started off as a series of eight local stores around Tempe dedicating themselves to promoting healthy living using natural products.
Christy Yourk, a family friend of the Rosenbaums, started helping at the store at the age of 16 and continues to do so today.
“The concept of our store, what Darlene started to begin with, was a way to have inexpensive, good-quality and organic bath and bodywear products,” Yourk said. “We have over 200 fragrance oils, so you can choose a fragrance or blend your own.”
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The store carries natural lotions, bath gels, face care products and hand creams that customers create fragrances for, according to Yourk.
“Darlene had that concept long before the big-name body shops,” Yourk said.
The stores slowly went out of business over the years, but the original shop on Mill Avenue remains the same.
“Other big body care stores kind of put little fragrance places out of business, but the Mill Avenue store has stayed the same. We are here forever,” Yourk said.
The store faces problems as the cost of running a business and keeping it afloat continues to rise.
The owners, Darlene Rosenbaum and her daughter Carly St. Germain, said that while revenue is slightly higher due to tourists and holiday shopping, profit trends differ from the past due to an increase in cost of goods.
Another challenge for them is staffing.
“Finding the right people with the passion you need who want to stay employed is not easy today,” Rosenbaum said.
Faith Marsala, an employee at the shop, said she loves the comfortable work environment and relaxed vibes.
“It’s really chill. I love it because I get to know my manager on a close level where I feel comfortable telling her I can’t come in one day,” Marsala said. “She is always there so I can talk to her and reach her easily.”
Lotions and Potions provides a shopping experience along with the products as soon as customers walk through the door.
“We offer an experience that not a lot of bigger stores offer. The ability to come in and add any scents to your favorite body care products is not something you can do anywhere,” Marsala said.
Marsala said the store’s location is perfect because it is surrounded by several lunch spots that customers can stop by after shopping.
Pat Lickei, a first-time customer at Lotions and Potions, said how much she enjoys the shop.
“I love this store. I could spend all kinds of money in here,” Lickei said. “As soon as we walked by, we went to eat and I said, ‘when we finish eating, let’s stop back in here.’”
Lotions and Potions started a mail-order business to increase marketability, and more changes are still coming, according to Yourk.
“We are getting ready to launch, before the first of the next year, a brand-new website that will be much more shoppable than what we have now and a lot more fun,” Yourk said.
To get more business, Lotions and Potions started building up their social media profile and holding new events.
“We are trying to get our Instagram to get out there and go viral. We are also offering private parties where groups can come in and play with and create their own scents for a discounted price,” Yourk said.
Lotions and Potions provides products for people of all walks of life.
“We still have locals or people who move out of town who come back because they have been using our products their whole life,” Yourk said.
Lotions and Potions welcomes calls for those with questions at (480)-968-4652 and accepts followers through Instagram at @lotionsandpotions.
Rosenbaum, her daughter and the Lotions and Potions staff stay optimistic despite the struggles.
“In five years, we see our local family-owned business being 57 years old and thriving,” Rosenbaum said. “The services we pride ourselves on are hard to come by and customers are eager to have the unique shopping experience we offer.”