You can find crystals and comic books at this new store

DOVER-FOXCROFT — A couple who moved to Maine from Minnesota last year has turned its passions for metaphysical items, comic books and collectibles into a joint venture in Dover-Foxcroft.

Colleen Cunningham runs BackWoods Magik, a shop offering handmade jewelry, books, candles, herbal teas, tarot cards and items that help people connect with their spirituality, she said. Her husband, Peter, operates Sidekick Comix, which used to be an online and convention sales business, sells comic books, action figures, cartoon plushies and other “basic nerd stuff,” he said.

The stores, which opened Monday, bring new offerings to the historic Mayo woolen mill buildings overlooking the Piscataquis River and provide area residents with niche shopping they otherwise would need to drive to Bangor to do. Four months ago, a thrift store opened in the mixed-use complex with apartments, office space, an inn and a cafe

Photo courtesy of Colleen Cunningham
TWO BUSINESSES — Peter and Colleen Cunningham, who moved to Williamsburg Township last June, have opened a new shop in Dover-Foxcroft. It is a mix of their two businesses, Sidekick Comix and BackWoods Magik.

Even if people’s interests don’t align with what’s sold at the shop, they might be surprised to find something that speaks to them, Colleen Cunningham said. “There is always some part of a person that wants to be a nerd,” and people should explore that, she said.

Many associate the term “metaphysical” with witchcraft. While BackWoods Magik does cater to those who practice, it also sells teas, bath blends and more that could be helpful to anyone looking for ways to unwind, she said.

“Your spirituality is what feels right to you,” Colleen Cunningham said. “If you need a crystal to focus and center your energy, I’ve got that. I want to help people reach inside themselves and find what makes them a better person.”

The Cunninghams moved from Moorhead, Minnesota, to Williamsburg Township, near Brownville, last June.

The COVID-19 pandemic made them feel unsafe and consider living in a rural place near nature, but it wasn’t until months after the death of a family member that an opportunity to relocate arose. 

A few years ago, the Cunninghams learned that Peter’s brother, who owned a property in Williamsburg Township, was diagnosed with cancer. When he died in November 2020, he left his house to Peter and his other brother.

While circumstances that led to their move are unfortunate, they feel peaceful in Maine, where they live with one of their three adult children next door to relatives, Colleen Cunningham said. 

“This place is magic. That’s how we came up with the name for BackWoods Magik,” she said. “You have no idea until you come from a city where it’s crowded and prices for everything are high.”

The Cunninghams, who are in their 50s, began selling their products in February at Rusty Cactus Guild, located inside the Union Square Mall on Dover-Foxcroft’s East Main Street. Because the booths were so popular with customers, they decided to move to their own space.

Colleen Cunningham has a remote, full-time job with a bank headquartered in Minnesota. She also makes jewelry and will be at the shop on Saturdays to sell it and other products. She’s also building a website. 

Her husband, who works part time at Pat’s Pizza in downtown Dover-Foxcroft, will run the shop three days a week. They have also hired someone to manage the shop on the days they can’t be there.

BackWoods Magik and Sidekick Comix are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at 8 Moosehead Lane, Suite 115.

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