The first thing new customers see upon entering the Brooklyn shop are shelves of tonics, tinctures, and teas.
“They walk in, and they immediately think, ‘Oh, what a cute little store!’ And then, they realize, ‘Oh, wait. There’s massage and acupuncture. And then, they get to the backyard, and they’re like, ‘Wait a minute! What’s going on back here?’”
Nestled behind the building is a greenhouse lush with plant life and furnished with tapestries. Here, the rush of Tompkins Avenue traffic gives way to the chirp of cicadas and the flow of a koi pond.
“We wanted to create something where we lived that was magical,” Tudor said. “You smell all the incense and the candles and all the yumminess, and that just makes people go, ‘Oh, my god. Where am I?’”
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After giving birth to her fifth child, Tudor decided to quit her unfulfilling desk job and go back to school for massage therapy.
“This whole new world opened up,” she said.
She ultimately created the wellness hub alongside her husband Ade Collman, who has been practicing massage and acupuncture for over thirty years.
They focus on the power of touch to help heal both physical and emotional suffering.
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Each brings particular strengths to the job. Tudor is inspired by Collman’s deep caring for all visitors. Collman admires Tudor’s ability to draw people in.
“In the whole community here, she is the magnet,” he said. “It is amazing to watch.”
Community is a priority for Tudor. Hers is one of many of the area’s Black-owned businesses committed to supporting one another. Her retail showcases small Black-owned brands looking to grow. The staff at Brooklyn Kettle, the coffee shop around the corner, keep an eye on the center when she’s not around. An owner at peace + Riot, the design store across the street, taught her how to ship her wares. When the coronavirus pandemic forced temporary closures, the Tompkins Avenue Merchants Association kept the local shopkeepers updated with business advice and news.
“We see each other. We show up for each other,” she said. “That is the foundation of this community.”
Amid the energy of the area, Tudor hopes that Life Wellness Center can serve as a space for mindful rest.
“There’s a lot of everything happening in our neighborhood, and so we wanted something that was quiet,” she said. “Having a moment to just be still in a beautiful place, that is healing, as well.”
Life Wellness Center
376 Tompkins Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11216
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