By Aayat Ali
The back-to-the-land movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s created a resurgence of spirituality, self-awareness and desire in people for a seemingly better lifestyle.
In 1972, Whole Earth Catalogue, a reference guide to different health and lifestyle books, inspired David Adams to open up a used bookstore that would become a staple in Lexington’s community — sQecial.
“He used to be an actuary for an insurance company, so he would go through all these insurance magazines — big, fancy, slick ads — and he saw this advertisement that said ‘sQecial Opportunities,’” said David’s partner, Mary Morgan, who started working with him in 1977 and has taken over since his death in 2005. “He showed it to people and no one seemed to get it ... It was a mind your p’s and q’s thing.”
sQecial Media has a mishmash of alternative books, art supplies, knick-knacks and decorations. When first walking into the store, the aroma of sage and old wooden shelves may permeate the air.
Upon entrance, there is a huge variety of scented candles, essential oils, lotions and body washes to the right, and authentic decorations from India, Nepal and Germany to the left.
At one point the store had even carried food, but these days countless posters, Nag Champa incense and various religious guidance books are just a few of the many trinkets to discover around the store.
“My favorite thing about this store is all of the tapestries they’re all so beautiful — I have one hanging in my living room and it just ties everything together,” said Darion Scott, a Lexington native and sQecial customer.
For 43 years, sQecial has been a place where people can visit if they want to learn about different lifestyles or maybe get a paper lantern. The variety of products provided reaches out to a large amount of diverse customers.
One thing almost all customers can agree on is that the feeling of the store is unlike any other.
“Some people in their fifties come into the store for the first time since college and say, ‘It’s just the same,’” Morgan said. “We manage to get new things, but maintain the same aura ... We considered expanding online, but we’re a destination store — people go away to live in California, come back to visit family and have to come here while visiting.
“Part of the charm is to experience it,” Morgan said.