Written by Talie Rosa
Anyone who is even remotely involved with the ins and outs of Palm Springs knows the name Joy Meredith. Joy has been firmly rooted in Pam Springs culture since 1978. Coming from bone-chilling Maine to visit her parents, she fell in love with our beautiful desert before even leaving the airport. “Here it was incredible and I didn’t even know this place existed and I literally never left. I just fell in love with Palm Springs immediately. It’s just been a beautiful experience being here.”
Joy had a few jobs before opening up her first business, Crystal Fantasy 32 years ago. She sold advertising for The Desert Sun, she worked for her father, she worked at The Pennysaver where she was the top salesperson for 252 weeks in a row, claiming that was because she was much more obsessive/compulsive back then.
Joy remembers fondly the years she worked with her father. “I worked for my Dad, he had Norman Brown General Contractor. He did like 50 tenant improvements at the Desert Fashion Plaza, a bunch of work at The Courtyard. He came out here to retire but he never wanted to work anywhere that he would have to get in his car, so his office was upstairs from where Starbucks used to be. It was just super nice you know, a small life.”
Meredith has three children, Patricia, Michael, and Sara and when she talks about them her entire face lights up. With some of her children and grandchildren in her employ along with Scott, husband of over 40 years, all working at either Crystal Fantasy or Joy of Life Wellness Center it would seem that Joy has continued the tradition of family working together.
Prior to opening Crystal Fantasy, Joy had experienced some health issues. A customer of her Dad’s construction company turned her on to crystals. He taught her about breathing colors, which she had never heard of before. Eventually her obsession with crystals became a collection, and then, inventory; Her dream of opening her own business, a reality. When Joy recalls the opening, she tells a poignant story. She was sitting in her newly rented shop, with no inventory beyond what she already owned, crying. A woman came up and asked if she was ok and Joy expressed how terrified she was. In that pivotal moment she met her first customer, who brought her more customers, who then brought their friends. A successful business was born. Now in its third location, this beautiful store offers everything from huge geodes, hundreds of crystals to angel and tarot cards. Staff include reiki masters, psychic mediums, numerologists and tarot cards readers. There is no set charge for their services beyond a donation. (Please be generous, they work very hard and are the very best in the field.) A tranquil space in the back hosts a myriad of events including crystal classes, yoga, sound baths, drum circles and more.
What makes Joy so special isn’t her business savvy or her love of family though. What makes Joy special, and the reason for this article, is her absolute love and dedication to her community. Joy is one of those people that remain humble throughout their entire lives. I have always considered myself a high energy person, but I am blown away by the absolute commitment she has for EVERYONE in her community. She manages to be a dozen places at once, half of them on Facebook, where she is always on hand to answer a question, make recommendations and offer assistance wherever she can. This is a woman who has firmly and fully committed to a certain quality of life as opposed to an unachievable, soul-sucking standard of living. Everything she does, in business and in her personal life, is centered around being of service to others. While Joy is President of Main Street Palm Springs, she also dedicates herself to addressing homelessness in the Coachella Valley, trying to find innovative solutions that work for everyone involved. She recently raised over $1100 for Well in the Desert in an online campaign. Additionally, she is a founding member of the Police Advisory Board, a member of The Hospitality Association, She is on the Bureau of Tourism PB and J Committee, and even on her neighborhood board.
In 2006, after the Desert Fashion Plaza closed, Joy began what would be a 13-year campaign with the city to install public restrooms downtown. With the homeless population increasing at a terrifying rate, coupled with the reemergence of a vibrant and thriving Palm Springs, her crusade finally came to an end. This is a perfect example of how Joy handles everything, with humility and tenacity.
Joy admits to being a cannabis user for a long time, and became intrigued by the business. When she opened up The Joy of Life Wellness Center, the industry only allowed the use and sale of medical cannabis. She enjoyed hearing the success stories of her patients and how cannabis had improved their health. She felt she had found a perfect niche, an older clientele who knew and trusted her to provide compassionate, educated and personalized care. Her business was centered around being a wellness center. While unexpected, the recent legalization of cannabis for recreational use has completely changed the industry and Joy’s future business plans as well. The Joy of Life Wellness Center offers a 10% discount for patients with either a Dr. recommendation or a state-issued medical card. Veterans are offered a discount as well. Every day you will find a different vendor offering specials for the day up to and including specials like buy one, get one for $4. I took advantage of their Bloom promotion where I purchased a Bloom cartridge and received one for $4. A super deal on an excellent product! While nothing has been announced officially, stay tuned for a future cannabis recreational area in the new future. I am excited to hear more about this new venture as more information becomes available. Joy does want to stress the importance of following the laws responsibly, while we all enjoy the newness of a recreational cannabis culture. Ladies, keep all of your cannabis products in your trunk, not your purse, while driving. Open container laws pertain to cannabis as much as to alcohol. Do not consume in public. Minors under 21 are not legally permitted to consume cannabis without a State Medical card.
As a surprise for Joy, I reached out to her son Michael for a quote, describing his Mom in his own words. This is what he sent me:
“Since moving to Sunny Palm Springs in 1979 from her current snow filled life back east she never looked back, she’s dedicated her life to her community, especially downtown Palm Springs, her two businesses Crystal Fantasy and Joy Of Life Wellness Center and her neighborhood. I was born and raised in The Movie Colony area of Palm Springs and had a great, loving and creative household. From her community service, homeless assistance, the family woman that she is and all she does for the community she goes above and beyond anything or anyone I’ve ever seen. The list goes on: holiday banners from students every year, donations and help to homeless – even letting them sleep in her car on cold nights – handing out food and water, regular walks through the city for upkeep and compliance for all including disabled, her compassion and help through the community for her grandson Sweet Baby James…. and I’m not being biased because it’s my mom.”
As our interview winded down, Joy asked to say one more thing. Her voice got soft and a little vulnerable, she leaned in and said so genuinely… “I consider Crystal Fantasy my heart, open for all to see. Everything that’s in it are things I love. It’s so much more than a store to me, they really are things that mean something to me and that I hope to be able to share with other people.”
Go see Joy Meredith everyone, she can’t wait to meet you!
Gifts and Gallery
and Enlightenment Center 268 N. Palm Canyon Drive
Downtown Palm Springs, California
(760) 322-7799 http://www.crystalfantasy.com/
Joy of Life Wellness Center
142 W Oasis Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262