HOLTVILLE — Mostly comprised of either political or colorful crafts booths, a single vendor at last week’s farmers market stood out against the others for its foreboding décor: Witch Your Soul.
The booth was simple, featuring only a small table with a black tablecloth covered in homemade spiritual goods, but it was striking against the hustle and bustle of the rest of the market.
Holtville sisters and co-owners of Witch Your Soul, Krystal and Nora Martinez, explained the simplicity of their booth was because the Holtville Farmers Market was their first day in business.
“We’re going to open a store online, but we’re still working on it. This is our first time selling anything,” Krystal said. “We started working with this about three weeks ago.”
It was evening filled with firsts that didn’t end with Witch Your Soul: Thursday, Sept. 22, was the Holtville Chamber of Commerce’s first market of the 2022-2023 season and the first public event for the city’s new police chief, Imperial County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Conkey.
Dozens of people wandered through Holt Park and the Farmers Market’s booths, listening to the music of what has become the market’s house band, Brawley’s Misery Whistle.
Passersby were attracted to the unique items created by With Your Soul’s artisan, sister Krystal Martinez, who has created products including candles, room sprays, and jewelry that are designed to cleanse energies or protect from negative energies.
Sister Nora Martinez manages the administration of business, including their Instagram account, @witchyoursoul
Despite the name of their business, the sisters say they are not practicing witchcraft but instead working with spiritual energies, which is a skill Krystal learned from her great-grandfather.
“We were scared at first, but we’re really happy with the content. People are buying the products. They’re liking it, and they’re not afraid of anything we are selling,” Nora said.
Police Chief’s First Farmers Market
New Holtville chief, Sgt. Conkey, worked his first community event in his new position on Sept. 22.
Conkey was initially re-introduced to Holtville residents as the new police chief during the Holtville City Council meeting on Sept. 12, after having previously worked in Holtville earlier in his career in the Sheriff’s Department.
Having served the city of Holtville more than 10 years ago, Conkey said what he liked about being back in Holtville is seeing the growth the city has had since he was transferred out of the city.
“There’s a lot of things going on here in town that weren’t here when I was there previously. New apartments, some other new developments going on, so it’s really great to see the growth,” Conkey said.
Conkey spent his evening wandering through Holt Park, chatting with residents and getting to know the community.
One Holtville resident, Maria Garcia, said watching Conkey talk and visit with residents was comforting after having grown up in city of Norwalk.
“The police in the neighborhood I grew up in, they weren’t very nice, and as a kid I was afraid of them … Watching him walk around and talk to people without making them nervous, it’s just really nice and makes me happy to be in a town I don’t have to be afraid,” Garcia said.
CVS Provides Vaccines
Set up inside Holtville’s City Hall, CVS Pharmacy hosted a temporary vaccine clinic to administer flu and COVID shots while also providing the community information to prepare Holtville for the upcoming flu season.
“I went in and asked about COVID booster and was happy to know I was up to date,” Holtville resident Juan Lopez said.
Christine Castillo, one of CVS’ pharmacy technicians, was among the staff present to provide the shots and answer any question.
In an interview, she said that most people who came in was looking for information on the vaccines more than needing vaccines themselves.
Castillo stressed that anyone who missed the temporary clinic will still have access to the vaccines at the CVS Pharmacy in El Centro, with the flu shot not requiring an appointment to receive the shot.
“The Farmers Market definitely brought us out here because it’s such a big community that comes out to see what’s going on, and we thought with such a large crowd, we wanted to be part of that,”…