Photos Rob Smith

Q: Jim and Sami, what was your inspiration to bring this business to Broad Street? 

A: From our first visit to Rome, Georgia, it felt like home. It is a great location to live and open a business. We were ready to escape overpopulated southwest Florida and start a new life in small-town living. Rome is a place that allows us to build upon a community creating a new family where everyone is accepted. 

Q: What feelings do you hope to inspire when customers first walk into your shop? 

A: We want everyone to experience an immediate sense of calm, relaxation, and welcome from the moment they enter. Not every day do people go to a store with a bar that leads into a holistic space. So, we feel it’s imperative to approach and welcome everyone at the door, us or our grandpuppy, Vienna. She is the official door greeter. 

Customers are often sparked with interest when they see our boho retail goods, smell the nag champa incense and doTERRA essential oils in the air, and hear our eclectic blend of reggae, rock, and jazz playing overhead. We often see a look of calm and relaxation wash over our customers’ faces when they realize they have come to exactly where they need to be. 

Q: Salt therapy promises relief from many ailments, from asthma to acne. How does your salt sauna create an ambiance for healing? 

A: It has a different atmosphere from the Kava Den and storefront. Our salt therapy sauna is enveloped in Zen decor and salt lamps, providing a sense of peace. We believe in following the recommended STA (Salt Therapy Association) timeline of 20 minutes for children and 40 minutes for adults. 

We have various brochures available that explain how salt therapy works. Essentially, there are three primary characteristics of salt: it is very absorbent, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Our halogenerator disperses micro-sized particles of salt into the air for inhalation. 

The salt can work wonders within the respiratory system, absorbing allergens and toxins, reducing inflammation, and opening airways. The salt’s antibacterial properties are also excellent for the skin. We have received a lot of positive results and feedback from customers who regularly enjoy the salt sauna. 

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Q: People love kava. Can you convince me that it is more than a bowl of dirt? 

A: One shell of kava could convince you. In twenty minutes, your lips may experience a numbing sensation, and you will most likely feel calmer and more relaxed. Kava “Piper methysticum” is of the pepper family and is found in the Pacific Islands. 

A non-alcoholic beverage made from the root of the kava plant has been popular for over three thousand years in those areas. It is mainly consumed for anxiety and relaxation, although some people drink it to relieve pain and inflammation. 

Sami and Jim Gravedoni

Q: Are you really Gypsies? 

A: We would love to be if we aren’t already (laughs). We love traveling, experiencing cultural foods, shopping, and meeting different people. We are from south Florida initially, and now living here in Rome, we feel like gypsies. 

Q: Can you describe your journey into holistic healing and meditative arts? 

A: We have both pretty much been into healing and meditative arts, but I would say since 2016, we have become more aware and in-tune, and conscious of the holistic and meditative ways. We have implemented these methods into our daily lives; in our foods, supplements, habits, and way of sharing with others. Our significant life change came after a procedure in which an esthetician reviewed all of my cosmetics. 

We discovered a lot of the ingredients that are in a lot of cosmetics and hygiene products are pretty scary! We did a major overhaul of all our daily products: hygiene products, cosmetics, household cleaners, food, and even spices. My skin looked better. We felt better. We found that we were satisfied with smaller portions of food. 

 Q: Tell me about your elixirs. Is it just funky tea? 

A: Our elixirs are kratom, zero alcohol. Kratom “Mitragyna Speciosa” is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. The leaves are brewed into a tea and served cold. Variation in the leaf, yellow, white, green, or red, determines if it is energizing or mildly sedating. Some claim pain relief from drinking this tea. 

Our crushed leaves are quality, clean-label products. Our kratom elixirs are brewed, steeped, and mixed with juices, syrups, or creamers to give you a positive drinking experience. All our products are organic, non-GMO, and clean-label. From our teas to snacks, our motto is, “If we won’t consume it, we won’t sell it!” 

Q: Is all kratom created equal? 

A: No! This is a huge part of our daily education. We have found kratom has a bit of stigma in this area. We believe this is from exposure to poor quality, adulterated, or synthetic products and a lack of education. We have met many people in the area who have shared kratom use  

experiences with us, and not all have come from reputable and tested sources. We serve pure quality products, so our customers have a positive experience. We have seen many positive results in our customers, from successfully eliminating alcohol from lifestyles to reducing anxiety prescription dependency. This product has been used for years for its medicinal value. We recommend customers research before buying. 

We are disappointed when we hear consumer stories of poor experiences with adulterated or synthetic kratom. These negative tales often begin with an unreputable source, like a gas station, and end with poor education on proper usage. You should NOT ingest a spoonful of kratom and chug some juice (toss and wash method). Do your research on the benefits of kratom and only buy from reputable sources that offer supply certificates of product analysis.  

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Q: Your Amethyst Biomat offers a calming approach to pain management. If I carried amethyst stones in my pockets, would that do the same thing? 

A: It may! Amethyst has long been credited with healing properties. Our Amethyst Biomat’s seventeen layers consist of twenty-five hundred amethyst crystals, far infrared rays, negative ions from natural tourmaline, and special layers of fabric interceptors that reduce electromagnetic waves. Its proven results have changed the lives of many. Biomat is FDA certified, and some insurance companies will cover the cost of its purchase. We are pretty excited to announce we recently added the vibroacoustic mat under the amethyst Biomat which delivers a truly fantastic experience. The vibroacoustic mat has sounds that reflect a vibration in the lower back up to the shoulders, simply creating the ultimate relaxation. Our customers love the new addition. Every Tuesday, we celebrate a self-care day and discount the mat and salt sauna use. 

Q: Who is your targeted demographic, and what kinds of people frequent your shop? 

A: As with all gypsies, everyone is welcome. We are a place of acceptance. To take advantage of our services, you either need to be eighteen years of age or have a parent or guardian present to give consent. Drinking kava or kratom elixirs is strictly available for customers eighteen years or older. 

Q: What benefits and overall improvements have you witnessed in the lives of your customers who use your services? 

A: Customers express how welcoming and comfortable they are when they hang out in the Kava Den. They have made quite a community here, meeting up to play games, chat, or relax. Students and remote workers find it a relaxing spot to focus and get work done. Many customers tell us they feel less stressed, notice a reduction in pain and minimalized allergy symptoms like coughing. We’ve heard some have reduced their dependency on prescription pills and alcohol by using the amethyst Biomat, salt sauna, or simply sipping on the kava and elixirs. 

Q: Do you offer any other services? 

A: We also host sessions that bring local reiki masters and sound therapists. For those unfamiliar, reiki is energy healing from gentle touch or placing hands above the body to help guide the energy to promote relaxation, reduce stress, and promote a healthy balance. Sound therapy uses music to improve physical and emotional health and well-being. We also bring various educational panels. From some of our vendors to local chiropractic offices, we are a space to share information and educate the public. 

Q: Do you have any events coming up in October or November that we could highlight for you?  

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram to keep up with our weekly schedule. October 22nd is Mystical Night on the 500 block, hosted by Traveling Gypsies and Kava Den from 3-11 p.m. October 28th and 29th we are hosting a Time Warp Before and After Party for the Rocky Horror Show, October 31st, we have trick-or-treating. On November 1st, we will celebrate the Day of the Dead. You can also learn more about Traveling Gypsies and Kava Den on our website www.travelinggypsiesandkavaden.com. location at 524 Broad St. Rome, GA. 

 

We apologize, if you stopped in during October 1st – 10th, we closed suddenly for a week to go help our friends and family in southwest Florida clean up from the devastating Hurricane Ian that came through and caused so much devastation to the area. To continue to help our SWFL friends and family, we will be accepting monetary donations for them at our location. This will allow them to get back on their feet and rebuild SWFL.   

 

*The information contained in this story is for informational use only and is not intended to provide diagnosis, treatment or medical advice. The products and claims made about specific products or services have not been evaluated by the US FDA and are not approved to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.