Real Estate - Commercial

On Oleander Drive, More 'Magic' On The Way

By Cece Nunn, posted May 10, 2020
Practical Magic, a store and online operation that sells gemstones, candles, essential oils and more, moved to the former Scuba Now store at 5740 Oleander Drive. (Photo by Cece Nunn)

The McDonah family capitalized on a popular niche when they started Practical Magic in 2016.

The business sells gemstones, crystals, candles, essential oils, jewelry and more online and in a retail location in Wilmington.

Founded by sisters Carly and Nellie McDonah and their mother, Amy, Practical Magic moved recently from a house on Oleander Drive to the 6,000-square-foot former Scuba Now facility at 5740 Oleander Drive.

“We probably have thousands of products, and when we moved here, we thought that it would be enough space to provide room for our customers to come in and shop,” said Carly McDonah, of the house at 5008 Oleander Drive the store used to occupy. “But two of the rooms were just full of inventory, and the other rooms were all being used for shipping.”

Carly McDonah, who has a bachelor’s degree in business management, and Nellie McDonah were in pre-med classes in Oregon before moving to Wilmington. Before Oregon, they had lived in Florida for 30 years.

The origins of Practical Magic can be traced to the McDonahs' personal collections of stones and crystals.

“We’ve always been collectors,” Carly McDonah said. “My sister and my mom and I were reiki [spiritual healing art] masters. We’ve done a lot of crystal healing, and it’s just so amazing to be able to offer it [the store] to people as a place to come.”

The online segment of Practical Magic is a larger part of the business, with an estimated 1,000 orders a month, she said.

But the owners are also excited about their new location, Carly McDonah said, which is decorated with Practical Magic’s blue, green and purple signature colors.

“We have some beautiful pieces of furniture that have come from some of the shop owners around here, rustic furniture and beachy vibes,” she said. 

Broker Bill Maus of Wilmington-based commercial real estate firm Maus, Warwick, Matthews & Co was the listing agent for the property, which was left vacant when Scuba Now sold to a Georgia dive firm at the end of last year.

"We completed the lease right before this all kind of came about," Carly McDonah said of measures that started in March to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. "We had a couple of months that we were going to use to move, and it was very strange for it to all happen at this point.

"But we we can easily social distance; it's just our own family. It's been good to have some time to get things in order, and we're hoping to be open as soon as possible."

While they have watched the movie Practical Magic starring Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, for the McDonahs, starting the business “was more about how the little things in your life, little practical things you can do every day to make your life more happy or make you a more whole person.

“We just say it's putting a little bit of magic in every day.”

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