A Visit to Main Street Magic By Norman Beck

Oct15 coverWhen I’m home on a weekend, I drive from Dallas up to McKinney, Texas, to spend my Saturday mornings at Main Street Magic & Fun Company. I just feel a calling. I guess you’d say it’s magic!

Actually, I make the trip for three reasons, and they’re all related. First, I go to see a friend of mine who works in the shop. Second, I go to eat lunch at Hutchins, one of the three best BBQ joints in Texas. (I use the word “joint” with the utmost respect; order the brisket “moist” and tell Dustin I sent you!) The third reason I go is to see the looks on the kids’ faces as they watch magic in the shop. There’s a saying: you might not buy anything, but you have to see magic when you visit Main Street Magic.
The store is located in an old, turn-of-the-nineteenth-century, brick-and-plaster three-story building, located one block north of the old courthouse square. It is one of only fifty-three brick-and-mortar magic stores left in the United States.

According to almost any kid from the area, the magic store anchors what Money Magazine designated as “the number one best place to live in America in 2014.” What in the 1870s was only a sleepy, nondescript, little farming community has become, in the last ten years, a sprawling complex of upscale gated communities in North Texas that on festival days still likes to reconnect with its winsome past. Main Street Magic & Fun Company stands center court in that nostalgic vision. It’s a magical shop in a magical setting.
The old, tree-lined courthouse square is surrounded by great restaurants, art galleries, mom-and-pop stores (like the Mom and Popcorn Company), a couple of cozy little bed-and-breakfast nooks, rare book and antique dealers, dress shops, some high-end law offices in upstairs nineteenth-century digs, and sidewalk performers, old car shows, and street artists every weekend. I know! The love of my life and I came up a couple of weeks ago and ate downtown; they had live music – good music, at that. It reminds me a lot of New Hope, Pennsylvania, or Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Jennifer Gracy, owner of Main Street Magic & Fun Company, operates the shop with her husband, Chris. While Jennifer manages the business end, Chris is the number-one glad-hand and demonstrator for just about every pumpkin-haired little ten-year old sprout who lines up outside the store with daddy or mommy, sometimes as much as thirty minutes before the door opens at 10 a.m.

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