F & F Botanica Spiritual Supply
Each time I pass the bold red and yellow graphics of F & F Botanica Spiritual Supply on my daily Broad street commute I have wondered what kinds of mysteries and wonders the store’s display cases must certainly hold. Last Saturday I gave in to my curiosity.
Felix Figueroa, who was for years a purveyor of spiritual candles and supplies, purchased The Kingdom of the Yoruba Religion store in 1981. In 1983 he renamed it F & F Botanica Spiritual Supply and soon thereafter it became a family business when his daughter, Tanya, and son-in-law, Jonathan Scott, came onboard.
F & F now operates as a wholesale supplier for the region and has the largest selection of spiritual items in the South. Customers come from far and wide and are extremely loyal.
Tiffany Gonzalez comes from Houma at least twice a month. During my visit she was buying a St. Michael’s prayer candle.
“It cleanses everything,” she said. “And you can ask Jonathan anything, he will say this is what you need or that is what you need. He always has the perfect answer.”
It’s not unusual for Jonathan Scott to spend a good bit of time consulting and educating his customers. On the afternoon when I visited he guided a woman through all the moves she’ll need to make if she wants to sell her house quickly. Among several steps, he advised purchasing a small St. Joseph stature and burying it in her yard upside down and facing the house.
Scott has a degree in world religions, which is clearly reflected in the store’s expansive inventory.
“We have representative pieces from all over,” he said. “We carry things from Hindu to African religions and Catholicism too.”
Many customers come with a detailed list in hand. They give it to Scott who calls out the items and an assistant promptly gathers the goods.
Cheryl Young, a regular customer, was buying candles to help her successfully seal her fate. In the aftermath of Katrina, she and her family traveled an impossibly long road to recovery.
“Things are falling into place after all this time,” she said. “I just want to get that extra blessing so we can finally return to our home.”
In this approximately 1,200-square-foot store one can find insightful books and original art, powerful incense, spiritual baths — some which will remove jinxes — “Go Away Evil” air fresheners, herbs such as hibiscus extract that regulates nervous depression, mojo bags and “Do-As-I-Say” candles. F & F also offers essential oils and can even create unique customer blends.
The business is thriving. Scott says the store averages about 200 customers a day and also operates a healthy wholesale business and productive website. He primarily uses word-of-mouth advertising but occasional buys ads in some of the local Spanish newspapers.
Another family member, Rose Marshall, who has worked in the business since 1990, revels in helping people with their spiritual problems. She looks at them, reads them and then helps them to obtain their deepest desires.
“One man was in financial trouble and couldn’t even pay rent,” she said. “So I got some frankincense and myrrh incense and smoked him up. Later that night he won $1,300 at bingo. That made me happy.”
F & F Botanica Spiritual Supply
801 North Broad St.