Amber Michnick and Rebecca Hilton at The Hawthorne Tree

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Celebrating success of the new opening today, and participating in the Summertime in Streets event downtown this past weekend, are Amber Michnick (left, lead tea specialist) holding the Hawthorne Hibiscus tea, and Rebecca Hilton (right, herbalist) holding the Sunshine Lemon tea. More than 150 herbs and teas can be found at a new downtown shop, the herb and tea house The Hawthorn Tree, located at 112 E. 17th St. 

Susan Allen didn’t exactly plan all of her life to someday own an herb shop, but life has a way of throwing curve-balls. Like on the day she knew something was going wrong in her body—an unexpected and disturbing revelation that changed the course of her life.

In May 2014, Allen awoke experiencing heart palpitations and other issues. Seeking medical help, she soon found she had both the West Nile and Epstein-Barr viruses. Her health was deteriorating from the viruses and other factors. 

At first she sought help from a traditional medical doctor, but then began to combine both Eastern and Western medicines in her treatment.

As a former organic farmer and someone who’s worked in horticulture most of her life, Allen knew what a wonder herbs and natural medicines could be. 

“My doctor wanted to put me on a drug that I would basically have to take for the rest of my life,” Allen explained. “At the time, it was still in clinical trials. I asked him if he was OK with me finding a naturopath and he was totally on board with it.” 

After receiving her diagnoses, Allen left Colorado for her hometown of Cheyenne to heal and spend time with her aging parents. She stopped smoking, started losing weight, and with her combination of the two styles of medicine, she began to return to the woman she once was. She began to meditate, allowing her mind and body to come together. She realized she wanted to bring herbs, meditation and other healing properties together into some sort of healing center. 

For more than a year, Allen has been working at making her dream come true. And now the public can meet the shop owner, hear her story, have some tea or take some healthy herbs home from the new boutique. 

The Hawthorn Tree will officially open for business today at 9 a.m. on June 26, closing at 6 p.m., which will be the store’s normal business hours Monday through Friday. There will be a grand opening event at the store from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, which will be the shop’s regular hours on the weekend. The business will be closed on Sundays. 

The Hawthorn Tree offers more than 150 types of herbs and teas, offered loose leaf and in bulk. There will always be at least one herbalist at the store to teach people more about what they’re buying. Guests are welcome to make their own herb or tea mixtures. 

 “The thing about herbs is our bodies want to be in homeostasis,” Allen explained. “Instead of a medicine completely healing you, herbs sort of push you along the way to reach homeostasis again. It’s not like a cure or prescription. We’re just slowly treating our whole bodies with these herbs.” 

In addition to the herbs and teas, essential oils and healthy snacks are offered at the store. Hot and cold teas can be purchased in the shop and tables and chairs are available for folks who want to sit and chat while they sip their tea. 

The downtown shop also has a classroom where various courses will be held (the shop’s first one was last weekend), as well as a meditation room upstairs. Allen is hoping to at some point grow her own herbs and then sell them in the store. 

The merchant knows her shop is a unique addition to the downtown area, and she is glad to be there. She thinks people will be surprised by the variety of offerings in the shop and the atmosphere it will provide. 

“This is a place to commune, talk about health, learn about it and get creative,” she said. “I hope this is a gathering place. We’re trying to build a community.”