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  • Writer's pictureAthena Lirael - The Yarrow Witch

Moving & Growing Pains

Sometimes pulling back is the best way to move forward.
"Go and love some more." -Maude


Maude's Paperwing Gallery's storefront will be closing on January 15th. To skip the sappy stuff and get the facts, jump to the details.

Maude's Paperwing Gallery, in some form or another, has been the dream in my eye, my driving force, and the sometimes all-consuming passion project for the past many years. I have very much always wanted to have a space where I could offer healing, emotional support, and a healthy dose of silliness to people who needed it.

Maude's Comign to Millvale Announement.
Posted on IG Dec 14, 2020

In December 2020, I signed my name on the line to make my dream a reality. I started my lease at 210 Grant Ave, and started moving in. It was a wild time to be opening a storefront - the official lockdown was just over, the world was a scary place (it still is, turns out). But something was inviting me to make this space a reality. I was tired of working retail for someone else. I was tired of putting my creative energy into things I couldn't trust to have my well-being as a priority. And I felt the general need for more queer spaces, safe spaces, for people who were dealing with so much heavy bullshit that life was throwing at all of us. So it was time.

Danielle (Owner of AV Tea Co) and I sometimes joke that she manifested me. She spent many hours wishing and dreaming for a little gift shop to open up down the street. And truly, Danielle was a driving force in my decision to consider Millvale for Maude's. I have said often that the universe wanted me to call Millvale home, and that has been confirmed for me in a multitude of ways. Now, with Harold's Haunt open on Grant Ave, my heart is very firmly in Millvale.

Unfortunately, change is inevitable. Circumstances are forcing our hand- the storefront at 210 Grant Ave is closing. Maude's lease is up, and she has to move out.

People keep stopping in and asking us where we're moving to. The answer is, we don't know for sure yet. Times are really rough right now for small businesses. While losing our lease has forced us into this change, scaling back for a while (and not having rent, internet or electricity bills to pay) is looking kind of nice, financially.

But you better believe that's not end game for us.

The true purpose of Maude's Paperwing Gallery has always been to hold space for individuals, especially queer folx, to feel safe, find community, and heal. The storefront has been a vital part of that. Many people (to my eternal gratitude and delight) come to Maude's simply to have a safe space to exist for a short while. I don't know how to explain fully why a little queer witch shop is a healing and supportive space to be in - maybe it's the collection of blatantly queer and abolitionist merch we have. Maybe it's the folx here who are just happy to answer questions and offer support. Maybe it's because we're really just silly little gays running a silly little shop. But I am still so uplifted by how many people just feel safe here. People of all ages and backgrounds. It has truly been an honor to hold this space and welcome people into it.

All that to say, we are not closing our doors for good. We are going virtual for a while, but we will not be disappearing entirely. You'll see us at more markets, popping up at Harold's for little sales, and much more active online. And, if all things go as planned, we'll be back up and running IRL at a new storefront soon. I don't know how soon, but I'm personally hoping for Summer 2024.

I'll be entirely honest with you, my heart is just cracked and broken over this move. I don't want to leave this space that we've spent so much time building. These walls hold so much love, strength, and hope. They're full of so many beautiful memories, of so much community. The thought of rebuilding this somewhere leaves me feeling like I've had the wind kicked out of me. Maude's has been the solid rock during some turbulent times, and honestly, it's rude as heck that the universe saw other things shoring up and decided it was time to pull this little anchor out from under us.

But I know in my heart of hearts that whatever is coming next is going to be even more magickal. The community of people who love and support us is so much more vast and beautiful than I ever could have imagined when we opened our doors. I know that, whatever it looks like, we will continue to grow. We're just doing that squishy goo in the cocoon thing that butterflies do. Next up is something even better.

We have some plans in the works. We are slowly and gently pulling old dreams out of storage. Dreams involving a community space with rooms for healing, workshops, and community care. Dreams involving cute brick buildings full of flowers and art, where all are welcome to sit and feel safe. Harold's is a start. But we have even bigger dreams bubbling up in our cauldrons. And we hope you'll stick with us while we gently figure out what Maude's looks like next.

Truly, YOU, community member, are the reason I am in this. It has been such an honor to assist so many people in healing. It has been an honor to be asked for advice, and to be able to offer guidance. It has been a delight to watch people's faces glow with healing smiles. It has been a blessing to watch people find their authentic selves and step into who they want to be in the world. Thank you for allowing us to be a part of your journey. We hope you'll stick around to see what's next.


The Details

Is Maude's closing?

We are temporarily closing our storefront, and shifting to online sales and market sales only. We hope to re-open our storefront by Summer of 2024.

Where is Maude's moving to?

We don't have a new storefront yet, but we're looking to re-open in Millvale. Until then, we'll still be doing our weekly livestreams, and selling wares online and at markets.

Why is the storefront closing?

Our lease is ending, and we were not offered a renewal. Our landlord has been great - times have been tough for everyone. We don't know what their plan for is the space once we leave, but we are hopeful that they will rent to someone who has the same love and care for the Millvale community as we do.

When is the last day Maude's will be open?

The last day for shopping in-person will be January 15th. After January 15th, folx will be able to shop online and pick-up merchandise at Harold's Haunt or have it shipped.

Will all the merchandise be going on sale?

Sales have already begun! We will be putting most items on clearance. While we plan to continue to sell items through our website, it will be easier to sell our current stock at a discount and reorder to our new space than to pack up everything and move it. Be sure to check our social media (click here for the social feed on our website that you can look at without having an account yourself!) or join our discord for updates on sales. Or check out the Clearance section of the website, which will be added to regularly.

Will you be selling fixtures and shelves?

We will be selling some of our store fixtures! At a discount! We will post on social media as they become available. If there's something in particular you'd like to get information about, please email us.


Want to help?

Here are some things you can do that will help us move and also keep in touch!

Come buy some heavy things!

As it gets closer to Jan 15, more things are going to be discounted. Help us witches out by treating yourself to a new castiron cauldron or tarot deck. The less we have to pack and carry up a flight of stairs, the better!

Tell your friends!

If you've been trying to get your friends to stop in at this cute little witch shop for years, well, now's the time. Make sure they come by and see how cozy and cute this little shop is before we close the doors. Also, there are so many bargains to be had. So many cheap rocks!

Put our weekly livestream on your calendar!

The Maude witches go live every Monday at 7pm. It is a very hilarious and fun time, and it is also going to be important for us to have that continual sense of community once the storefront is closed. Legitimately even if you don't buy anything during our livestreams, popping on, saying hello, and telling us about your day makes us happy and keeps us feeling connected to our beautiful community. We currently stream on Facebook, but will be shifting to Discord & Twitch soon.

Follow us on social, join our e-mail list or hop in our Discord Server!

We very much want to stay in touch with you. Help us out by making sure you follow us in as many paces as you can. Here are some handy links:

Tell us stories to keep our hearts full while we go through this very heavy process.

We are definitely grieving right now, and if you are willing and able to tell us about a way the space, staff, or community here has uplifted you or positively impacted your life, we would love to hear about it. If you post your kind words on social media (be sure to tag us!) we'll send you some coupons and goodies.

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