Val Alcorn grew up near Detroit but spent much of her time camping in northern Michigan’s forests, swimming in the beautiful bays and lakes, and learning about the land she calls home. Her husband, Evan Alcorn, grew up in Omer along the banks of the Rifle River where he gained a great appreciation for these wild places. The couple lived in many places throughout Michigan but eventually moved to Colorado.
While in Colorado, Val witnessed not only another completely different yet equally beautiful landscape, but also began to learn about the medicinal properties of plants in the state’s active natural health scene. She began to see that the land she loved so dearly could also provide natural modes of healing and connection. It became not just an interest, but a calling. So when she and her husband moved back to Michigan a few years later, she wanted to bring the knowledge and experience that she gained out west to her home state.
Val and her husband moved to Gladwin in a home surrounded by forests and instantly began cultivating medicinal herbs and crafting formulas. Val said she noticed there was a huge lack of information regarding natural health in Michigan. People wanted to learn more about plants and living a natural lifestyle, but weren’t sure where to start.
Three years ago, she started an online herbal business called Woodspell Apothecary to sell digestive tonics known as bitters which she continues to ship all around the country and the world. Being able to grow, harvest, and formulate these products from seed to bottle and seeing the difference they make in people’s lives has been the most rewarding part of her career.
This past year though, she decided to take it a step further. She loved being able to reach people globally, but wanted to make a greater impact on her local community. So when the perfect rental space came available in downtown Gladwin, she snatched the opportunity.
She has since converted this space into a fully stocked herb shop, also known as an apothecary. The shelves are stocked with her own herbs that she grows and harvests as well as products from other local Michigan makers and herbalists.
At her shop, you will find everything from soaps and skincare to teas, tinctures, bulk herbs, books and more. The goal of the shop is to honor this beautiful bioregion and its plants while offering people the tools to live a more natural life. However, it is important to know that Val’s shop is not a dispensary and does not sell CBD or marijuana products.
In a time when the world is so divided, Val feels that plants are one thing to help bring people together.
“No matter your beliefs, there is this desire, especially after the pandemic, to take our lives and our health into our own hands,” she said.
Val’s hope for this new brick and mortar store is to give people a chance to come together and explore the many medicinal virtues of plants.
Woodspell Apothecary’s grand opening is scheduled for Saturday, July 9 at 111 E. Cedar Ave. in Gladwin. Herbal refreshments, snacks, samples and informational handouts will be available. Afterward, Woodspell will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays.