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Center Portal pitches fresh chemistry: gems, wellness

Kyle Russell and Nina Manolson

Opening expected in September

UPDATED, July 16: Out with the costumes -- in with minerals and health.

An Arlington Center storefront, the one that long contained the Costume Co., is not staying empty long. After the proprietor left for Belmont in June, residents can soon welcome the Portal -- which has its own lively chemistry, mixing crystals and wellness.

Let owners Nina Manolson and Kyle Russell tell you.

Portal Crystal Gallery and Wellness Space is their joint vision. For years, in parallel, they have supported people's personal growth.

In Portal, they join energies and create a welcoming space for those who are interested in learning, growing and healing. 

"We all need support in living a nourished and fulfilling life," Manolson responded to a request to introduce herself. She handles the wellness half of the equation.

"I deeply believe that we need community to grow and heal. I couldn't be more thrilled that Kyle and I are creating a space for people to connect, learn and be uplifted by each other and by the beauty of nature. I can't wait for us to throw our doors open and welcome the Arlington and surrounding communities."

Russell deals in crystals, but his view of life is not as hard as a mineral. He commented: "Both Nina and I have connected with audiences online, and virtually -- but ultimately -- we find that people are seeking in-person connection and support. Having a brick-and-mortar store felt like the right next step, to provide a more inviting landing place for folks on a journey toward better well-being.

"Plus, my extensive selection of crystals will finally have enough space to be displayed properly, and in a way that will help people better understand their unique properties."

An official opening at 489 Mass. Ave. is expected in mid-September, but the public can get a first peak at what he expects to be a premiere source of fine-quality gems and minerals in metro Boston during an open-house crystal sale on 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, July 16, at Russell's current showroom, around the corner at 7 Mystic St. For details, click here >>

The Mass. Ave. location aims to be a hub for wellness classes and workshops that support vibrant, grounded living. 

Asked about their backgrounds in their respective businesses, each has a story to tell, but, for the couple, the stories converge.

Russell began to work professionally with crystals in 1987. His interest and involvement percolated on the back burner as he shifted his focus at the turn of the 1990s toward selling international clothing and jewelry, as well as African art at his two stores, called Roots International, in Harvard Square and on Newbury Street.

He stepped out of retail for 20 years, as he launched his careers first in publishing (Rhythm Music magazine) and then in recording and performance (managing and touring with the Dub Station band).

Quote bar, redComing this fall

PORTAL: Crystal Gallery and Wellness Space
489 Mass. Ave., Arlington Center
Storefront opening fall 2017
Brought to you by:

-- Kyle Russell of
-- Nina Manolson of

Quote bar, red

In 2012, Russell returned to working with crystals full time, appearing at metaphysical expos and gem shows from Maine to New York. Beyond selling crystals, he believes in their energetic qualities. 

"Crazy as this may seem to many, plenty of others share his interest," he wrote. Russell teaches meditation, leads workshops and cohosts retreats with his wife, Nina.

Manolson is a certified health and psychology of eating coach, with 25 years experience in the health-and-wellness field.

She specializes in helping women end their war with food and make peace with their body by creating a deeply nourished life -- on the levels of body, mind and soul.

Her work is based on supporting women in creating a compassionate, respectful and trusting relationship with their body.

She holds a master's degree in counseling psychology. She's the founder of and the Nourished Woman Nation, a virtual community of women who are stepping into feeling truly good from the inside out.

The couple has been married for 20 years. They have raised two children, now teens, in Somerville. In addition to creating the Portal community, they love paddle-boarding at Walden and Mystic Lake, as well as ballroom dancing and fine natural-foods dining.

This news summary was published Wednesday, July 12, 2017, and updated July 16.

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