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Shop Talk

December 11, 2010

Shop Talk: Avalon Celtic Specialty Shop

Avalon Celtic Specialty Shop 284 Elk Creek Road, Schenevus Owner: Rhys DiPalma Established: 2000 Employees: None

Shop Talk is a weekly column featuring locally owned and operated businesses. This week, we talk to Rhys DiPalma of Avalon Celtic Specialty Shop in Schenevus.

How long have you lived in the area?

I was born and grew up in this area but have lived and traveled to other places as well.

Tell me about your business:

This is going to be difficult because there is so much that my business sells and does. I offer exclusive and specialty Renaissance clothing that has a modern flair, fantasy, wizard, Gothic, vampire theme clothing and accessories, sterling silver jewelry, goblets, grails, flasks, armor, incense and candles, as well as spiritual and psychic readings.

Describe a typical day in your business:

Busy is the summary of any day here. I am a certified minister, a doctor of divinity, so there are many people who are attracted to my shop, who come for readings, to shop or to just be here, listen, learn and be heard.

How did you get started in this line of work?

The spiritual path that I am on is a long story, but the business itself comes very naturally to me from my upbringing. I was raised as a "business baby" in that my parents were business owners, and that is what I grew up knowing.

Describe a memorable moment in your workplace:

I would say that the first year I opened a shop at the Oneonta Southside Mall. This was quite a few years ago, but it was here that I knew taking my business to the public was right.

Everyone loved my selection and to see their eyes light up in reaction to the items was joyful. It was a record year in sales for me also.

Where do you see this business in five years?

I hope to expand this store into two connected but also separate shops with the new part for Renaissance wedding clothing. I can even perform the ceremony. I am currently exploring the possibility of opening a store in Oneonta or Cooperstown as well.

What have you learned from your work?

I've learned to trust in my judgment even more and to see the needs of the people. I have learned to carry what people want to purchase so that they do not have to drive to Albany and beyond.

What is the most challenging part of what you do?

Teaching people about the differences between organized religion and being religious. I sometimes encounter judgment and criticism where there should be none.

The most enjoyable?

I find joy in helping people. My business offers opportunities to grow and heal through spiritual enlightenment and heightened philosophical awareness.

How do you define success for your business?

Success for me and my business is to continually give customers things to see that they have never seen before.

What are some advantages as well as drawbacks of doing business in this area?

The advantages of doing business in this area is that I believe Avalon Celtic brings joy and beauty into this community and region where it is needed.

One of the greatest drawbacks to doing business in this area can also be a drawback of living here as well, and that is the potential of fracking for fuel.

What sets you apart from your competitors?

I really do not have any competitors; there are no other businesses in the region that offer upscale, quality reproduction clothing and accessories of the Renaissance era.

What advice would you give to someone trying to enter your field of work?

Do what you are good at and enjoy doing. I have had opportunities to do different things, but I am a business person; this is where my path has led me.

For more information about Shop Talk, or to suggest a business, call 432-1000, ext. 217, or e-mail

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