CORNELIUS – The soothing sound of running water provided the background music for Heidi Kent’s guided visualization exercise in the cozy living room space of The Nook Store.

For 15 minutes, she led listeners through the lobby of a lovely old hotel, down its blue-carpeted floors to an elevator and into a fragrant garden outside.

Kent, along with Marsha Cook, co-own the business, which offers everything from psychic art classes and astrology readings to acupuncture and massage sessions. 

“For me, the important part is to have people think about their lives from many different perspectives, including how to accept a situation that is very difficult and to turn that into a positive experience,” Kent said.

With a master's degree in clinical psychology from Columbia University under her belt, Kent met Cook about four years ago when she moved to Lake Norman from Tennessee to be closer to her grandchildren.

Cook’s a former fitness center director for a YMCA in Pennsylvania and also ran a counseling business in Delaware.

“I started helping people find their life strategy, and that became more and more esoteric,” Cook said. “We got together to raise the consciousness of the community, one person at a time.”

The centerpiece of their enterprise is a brightly decorated gift shop, offering spiritual books, incense, jewelry, journals, music, artwork and tarot cards.

Yet the Kent-Cook Institute is also accredited by the World Metaphysical Association and the American Council of Spiritual Healers and offers a variety of courses for those seeking careers as palm readers, numerologists, mediums or spiritual healers.

Those coping with interpersonal issues can also spend time with Kent and Cook for one-on-one counseling.

“People come in with all kinds of difficulties, things from having a child who is very difficult to losing your husband,” Kent said.

And the duo even host private house parties for groups of friends hoping to make contact with the supernatural.

This fall, they’ll serve as adjunct faculty at Central Piedmont Community College in Charlotte, offering continuing education classes to engineers, accountants and firemen.

“We’re doing a meditation and stress relief class and one on understanding body language to get along better with the people you work with,” Cook said. “It’s called psychometry, which is reading things through feeling them. The first pyschometry you ever do is shake a person’s hand. Do you not get information from that person when they touch you?”

Kent said the greatest accomplishment of the center is its role in forging a spiritual community in the Lake Norman area, where members, called NookSters, meet up for lunch, or even to go hiking and gem mining in the nearby mountains.

With the air cooling and the leaves about to turn, The Nook Store is preparing for harvest season with White Witch classes, which focus on the history of spells and magic.

“Halloween is a time when the veils between the worlds of the living and the dead are thinner,” Kent said.


Want to go?
Visit The Nook Store at 19621 W. Catawba Ave., Cornelius. Details: or 704-896-3111.