Derek Arnold, the owner of the Witch Dr in Salem Massachusetts, got his start in the industry by first designing t-shirts under the brand Local 420. He had great response and the shirts sold like gold at events, shows and on campuses. The only problem was Derek’s customers eventually wanted more. And they specifically wanted glass. Derek then decided to reach out to an artist and good friend of his, PC Nicolosi, to get glass. Once stocked, Derek immediately began to realize the potential of what he had just gotten into.
“The glass was absolutely flying. There were no shops around and the demand was extremely high,” explains Derek. Derek and PC knew they were headed down the right path.
After a day of vending at Salem State, Derek stopped for drinks in town. When he pulled over, he noticed a space for lease across the street. Derek then gave PC a call to see if he was interested in opening up a shop. After some arm-twisting, PC agreed and the rest is history. Playing off the local Salem theme and the fact that the medical marijuana industry is booming, the Witch Dr was officially born on June 1, 2012 in historical Salem, Massachusetts.
Flash forward to today and it’s easy to see Derek and the staff of The Witch Dr have truly found the recipe for success. The shop features a gallery, a glass blowing studio, and a staff who appreciates a theme and work in scrubs.
The glass blowing studio features two resident artists, PC being one of them, and is operational during business hours to give customers, or patients as they are called at the Witch Dr, a glimpse at the process of what goes into the products they are buying. This unique feature really draws people in and makes the shop stand out.
“People really seem to appreciate the fact that we give them the ability to not just see a finalized product, but watch the operation and how the process occurs,” says Derek. The Witch Dr features glass artists that are known but not yet big names in shows throughout the year.
“We’ve had artists from New England and as far as out west in Oregon and California. It’s been really fun to bring in artists to the shop,” says Derek.
“In addition to taking artist submissions, we use Instagram a lot to find talent. It’s been very helpful for us in finding artists and being able to pick up on different trends and styles. It’s definitely one of our most frequented tools in finding new glass artists,” explains Derek.
“The cool thing is that everyone who works here really has an affinity for glass,” he continues, “It makes everything really easy because everyone is always searching on Instagram for new artists and suggesting people they’ve discovered.”
Derek works alongside his dad, John Arnold, a few of his childhood best friends, and a couple staff members that were once loyal customers. “We’re kind of like a family. Family owned and operated for sure,” mentions Derek.
“With the homegrown approach, there’s a lot of opportunity especially the way the current market is going, everyone here is really geared towards a career in this. It’s not just a job. Which is a beautiful thing,” says Derek.
The Witch Dr does a lot of charity work and is planning to be more active in the community and organize a neighborhood clean up in the upcoming months.
When it comes to marketing and advertising, the Witch Dr elects to use word of mouth. They have found that this strategy brings the right people in the door. They also have a Facebook Page (The Witch Dr) and Instagram account (Witchdrx).
“My dad had always encouraged me to do something that I loved and was truly passionate about and enjoyed doing. He told me if I did that, I’d never work another day in my life. And that’s what got me in to this; that’s what got me to where I am,” explains Derek.
The staff of the Witch Dr has it figured out. They’ve found their niche and the perfect location. They care about quality customer service and products. Customers not only know they’ll be taken care of when they walk in the doors, but that the store will offer an experience like none other. Even after being shut down by the city shortly after first opening the doors, the passion that fuels the Witch Dr brought them back and proved nothing can stand in the way of people who truly care about what they do. SSA