Naturally Rockford: Cusco Jack's: A different kind of place

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111643756118562.jpg’, ‘Photo by Melissa Wangall’, ‘African merchandise at Cusco Jack's.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-111643758312020.jpg’, ‘Photo by Melissa Wangall’, ‘Pat Cocoma’);

There is only one word to encompass Cusco Jack’s: different. Exhilaration is felt after visiting. Upon entrance, a candle-populated, wonderful-smelling musical wonderland is taken in. Water from an indoor fountain gurgles gently nearby as you take in the magnificent energy. A giant, 7 ft. teddy bear sits comfortably.

Everything presented has a story to tell, even the name. Pat Cocoma, president and owner, titled her store after Shaman Cusco Jack, under whom she studied. Cusco Jack is a native Rockford resident who learned shamanism in Cuzco, Peru. Cusco means center, or navel, and Cocoma hopes her store can be a “center or navel for people, for learning, remembering things we’ve gotten away from, whatever they may be.”

Stone and wood carvings are placed everywhere. All over the walls are pieces of local art for sale. Handcrafted jewelry, glass pieces, handpainted silk scarves, and natural personal care items are also displayed, many produced locally.

Cocoma brings culture into Rockford with her store, as well. She has beaded jewelry from Brazil and Guatemala, natural dyed rugs from India, tapestries from Peru, fossils from Morocco, Australian art, and a gaggle of other items from around the world. The handcrafted Australian boomerangs made by aborigines caught my eye. The African statues are nice aesthetics.

Amazement is doled out significantly as you explore the metaphysical, artistic landscape laid out before you. When you think you have seen it all, there’s more to discover. The place is chock full of New age supplies (including Tibetan singing bowls and bells), fun gifts, and out-of-the norm cards, accessories, and products. There’s even a place to sit back and read in comfort. In a room set with a comfy green couch and a wide assortment of spiritual, self-help, and scientific reading material for sale, one could spend hours here.

Relaxation and healing are key factors for this establishment. Aromatherapy, lotions (some made with goat’s milk), and organic dried-leaf teas are on display. Soothing CDs are for sale, and one can listen to demonstration versions before purchasing one. Cocoma also offers monthly intuitive readings and will soon restart classes garnered toward more spiritual settings.

Cusco Jack’s also vends organic wheat-free-vegan, low fat, fruit and natural vegan-fiber-protein bars. Burt’s Bees natural health care items are on display. Cocoma continues her zeal for local growth by allowing other business owners to leave cards/literature at the front of her store.

For more info: Cusco Jack’s is at the Edgebrook Center, 1663 N. Alpine Rd., Rockford, IL 61107; 815-226-0001 or

From the May 18-24, 2005, issue

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