Theresa Savidge, who operated Homespun Memories in downtown Dowagiac in 2006-2007, behind the counter at The Gift of Namaste June 1. The new age coffee shop’s counter offers further explanation of the name. (The Daily News/John Eby)
Theresa Savidge, who operated Homespun Memories in downtown Dowagiac in 2006-2007, behind the counter at The Gift of Namaste June 1. The new age coffee shop’s counter offers further explanation of the name. (The Daily News/John Eby)

Savidge opens The Gift of Namaste

Published 7:22am Thursday, June 2, 2011

Wednesday marked the one-week anniversary of Theresa Savidge’s latest venture in downtown Dowagiac, The Gift of Namaste, a 1970s-flavored new age coffee shop open every day but Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Savidge, who in 2006 and 2007 operated Homespun Memories a block north on the opposite side of Front Street in the former location of Harvey’s East coffee shop, 143 S. Front St., which had been occupied by The Painted Lady, Amy Schaus.

Namaste “is a greeting, like Aloha,” Savidge said Wednesday afternoon, adding, “I love the Seventies.”

Savidge, who lives near Southwestern Michigan College, for a decade beginning in 1996 worked for Georgie Boy in Edwardsburg.

Her husband, Jim, operates a trucking company.

Before a determined year-long search for the right property which took her from the former location of Markham’s winery to Cassopolis locations with first Cindy LaGrow and later Vickie Phillipson, Savidge bid on the three buildings adjacent to City Hall which went to Cass County Council on Aging for development of an anchor senior center.

Savidge finally settled on the storefront at 206 S. Front, the former framing shop where Jessica Sherman and Brian Fisher moved Iconik last Oct. 1.

Thanks to their hard work, the building was in move-in condition with an interior of earthy neutral colors which go hand in hand with the calming effect Terri wants to achieve with reiki, the Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation she offers.

As an opening special until June 30, reiki will be available for $25 an hour. Call (269) 782-0929 for an appointment.

Sinking into the couch in the sitting area in back with a flavored coffee, green tea or lemonade — and soon, slushies — visitors notice the ornate ceilings that are a throwback to the era when the building housed a funeral parlor.

While reiki remains unknown to many, the ancient relaxation technique dates back thousands of years.

She became certified in South Bend, Ind., in 2008.

It is based on the idea that everything in the universe is made of energy.

This life force energy flows around us and through us, nourishing our cells, organs and glands.

When one’s energy is low, imbalanced or restricted by stress, injury or illness, we are susceptible to discomfort, further illness and disease.

When one’s energy is high or balanced, one is more likely to feel relaxed and the body’s own innate healing abilities are awakened and utilized for healing.

Reiki has also been called hands-on healing and energy work.

Although reiki is hands-on, unlike massage, it is administered through a gentle touch.

While the patient is seated or lying down and fully clothed, the practitioner’s hands are placed along energy centers and pathways on the head, neck, shoulders and upper chest, abdomen, legs and feet (similar to those used by acupuncturists).

As energy transfers, the patient may feel warmth, coolness, gentle tingling or just deep relaxation.

Savidge says research on various types of energy work show that, in addition to deep relaxation, reiki can promote a reduction in anxiety, muscle tension and pain and can promote accelerated wound healing, wellness and a greater sense of well-being. It is useful during illness, after injuries, pre- and post-op and for health promotion.

One of her plans for the COA complex had been Hungarian pastries, which “I’m going to do for holidays. Actually, we’ve had an awesome reception,” Savidge said. “We opened (May 25) and everybody’s been very nice.”

“A little bit of everything” includes crystals, Himalayan salt lamps, peace symbols, incense and free WiFi.

While Homespun Memories was Savidge’s first business venture, her mother operated a ceramics studio for more than 30 years.

Savidge is originally from Granger, “when it was a small farm town, but I actually grew up here because my grandma and grandpa (Rose and the late Steve Pischalko) had a farm at the corner of Cherry Grove Road and M-62.”

In fact, Rose, who lives at Forest Glen, turns 100 June 19.

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