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Taking its tonics to the next level: Tonic opens shop online

By Staff | Aug 17, 2018

Two of Tonic's three co-owners, left to right, Ashley Davis and Carmela Cesare, sit beside a laptop showing the store's online shop. Photo by Tabitha Johnston.

SHEPHERDSTOWN — Now that the Contemporary American Theater Festival tourists are gone and the school year is about to begin, many local shops are hoping to support themselves during the slow business months with alternative routes of income.

For Tonic Therapeutic Herb Shop & Elixir Bar, that alternative income may be coming through online orders. As of June 1, the store has added a shop to its online website, and is now able to ship its in-house-made products to online buyers.

“The online store was not part of our original vision, because I do prefer the personal interaction with customers, but in order to have the store and offer that personal interaction, we need to offer this other alternative,” said store manager and co-owner Ashley Davis.

Davis co-owns the two-year old store with Carmela Cesare and Jurga Sauvageot. Sauvageot, a licensed pharmacist, joined the team this past January. Cesar and Sauvageot studied at the same alternative medicine school — Maryland University of Integrative Health, while Davis received her alternative medicine certification at Sacred Plant Traditions school in Charlottesville, Virginia.

According to Davis, many out-of-town customers have said they would appreciate being able to buy the store’s products at home. Davis said this is one reason the store’s owners believe the online shop is a wise business move.

“It was mostly motivated as a way to level out the flow of income, but it also serves to expand our reach to places like D.C. and Frederick. There are people who come from an hour or two away, and say, ‘I wish I had this in Bethesda or Frederick,'” Davis said. “There’s definitely a demand for organic products, formulated by practicing herbalists.”

The online shop is currently selling the store’s DIY blends and kits; granola; herbal bath blends; hot cocoas and broth packets; teas; topical salves, sprays and lineaments; spice blends; powders; syrups; and Tonic gear.

“We’re at the beginning of our third year now, and we hope this will be our first year that we will break even. We’ve got a lot of hope. The feedback that we’ve received is positive, but we need more foot and online traffic,” Davis said. “When that happens, I will be able to hold more classes and consultations, to fulfill my mission here.”