Store with the mind in mind - East Valley Tribune: Business

Store with the mind in mind

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Posted: Saturday, April 1, 2006 5:55 am | Updated: 4:00 pm, Fri Oct 7, 2011.

Neil and Lettie Weiner are psyched about the opening of their store in the Tempe Square Shopping Center at Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe.

“It’s the only one of its kind in the country,” said Neil Weiner, a clinical psychologist and an adjunct professor at Arizona State University and the University of Phoenix.

“We’re aiming at a younger age group, but we hope eventually the idea will spread and stores like ours will spring up all over the Valley, including for older customers in retirement communities,” said Lettie Weiner, a former fifth- grade teacher at Lindbergh Elementary School in Mesa.

The Weiner’s business is called Get Psyched! The Store. The 1,000-square foot facility is at 1709 E. Guadalupe Road and nestled between a Turkish restaurant, Efes, and a Baskin-Robbins ice-cream parlor.

Basically, it is a combination retail and community service center that provides information for walk-in customers with questions about psychological issues.

About 15 percent of Get Psyched! The Store’s goods are books dealing with psychological topics such as how to deal with sleep disorders, bullying, alternative life styles, improving communication with your children, and using art and music as therapy.

The other 85 percent of the retail items include CDs, games, toys, DVDs and other objects all aimed at helping the customer learn more about issues such as substance abuse, sexuality, weight loss and spirituality.

Art objects created by Valley artists relating to psychological matters, including sculptures and paintings, are to adorn a nearby display.

“Our items dealing with spirituality include all the religions, since religion is an important part of psychology,” said Neil Weiner, who for 23 years has treated patients at his Mesa office and has written several books about psychological topics.

Eventually, customers will be able to buy T-shirts with psychologically oriented sayings such as:

“Angels have wings because they take things lightly.” Or, “Behind every successful man is a co-dependent woman.”

Weiner, originally from New York City and his wife, a native of Mobile, Ala., have two children, Ricia Weiner, 30, also a psychologist who lives in the Washington, D.C., area, and Jay Weiner, 27, a massage therapist in Seattle.

Their children both graduated from Dobson High School in Mesa and the University of Arizona. Ricia will be one of two speakers at a seminar at the store-center April 12 giving helpful insights to parents of elementary school students.

“We realize there are a lot of people out there who might at first question a store like ours,” said Neil Weiner. “But we’ve got to begin the dialogue.”

Lettie is the official owner of the store since her husband as an adjunct professor and full-time therapist can’t officially own a retail outlet offering psychological help.

“Our goal is to remove the stigma that many people have about seeking information about their mental challenges,” Lettie Weiner said.

She said no therapy will be offered at their facility, but potential customers and visitors — in addition to the items they can buy that range in price from $5 to $25 each — will have access to a computerized list of specialists in the Valley for their particular psychological issues.

“We added the name ‘The Store’ to our business because somebody else already has the name ‘Get Psyched’ on the Internet,” Lettie said. The Get Psyched Web site belongs to a mental therapist in Texas.

The store also offers weekly seminars every Wednesday from 7 to 8:30 p.m. for the general public at a cost of $10 per person or $15 for two.

In addition, the new store provides four credit hours of continuing education courses that are approved by the National Board of Certified Counselors for certified mental health professionals.

Among the specialists who are required to take CE courses in Arizona include social workers, case managers, drug and alcohol addiction counselors, nurses, therapists and psychologists.

“We’re a cross between a retail store and a community center,” Lettie Weiner said. “And we link therapists with the public.”

Her husband added: “We consider ourself a prototype. We’re not planning on opening franchises, but we hope our concept is picked up and similar store-centers open all over the Valley and the country. Each store will provide services and needs for the demographics of that particular area.”

Sharon Robinson Kurpius, a former professor in the Counseling and Counseling Psychology Department at ASU, described the Weiners as “professionals.”

“Their goals are altruistic,” said Robinson Kurpius. “And they’re in a brand new, virgin territory. I wish them luck.”

The Weiners, who officially opened the business Saturday, joined the Tempe Chamber of Commerce and will celebrate a ribboncutting ceremony with chamber members later this month.

“We’re always excited when a unique business opens in Tempe,” said Mary Ann Miller, president of the chamber. “That’s what Tempe is all about — uniqueness.”

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