“Potter” Places: Devon Murray Attending L’Échoppe Magique and the Inspiring Staff at 9 ¾ Expresso

Irish actor Devon Murray played Seamus Finnigan in the Harry Potter films, and on October 16, he will be visiting L’Échoppe Magique (“Magic Shop”) in Dijon, France, for a special book signing and photo session.

 

 

 

L’Échoppe Magique, which opened in August 2020, is entirely dedicated to the Boy Who Lived, housing over 600 products from the Harry Potter universe, from stationery and plush toys to Funko Pop! figures, collectible items, and jewelry and accessories.

Those who want to attend the event must reserve a ticket, but unfortunately, there are no more online tickets available. However, those who turn up on the day of the event might be able to purchase tickets at the door.

Visiting shops such as L’Échoppe Magique and being surrounded by all those Harry Potter products is a Potterhead’s dream day out. Another exciting experience for Potter fans is visiting places that have been inspired by the Potter series and made into something magical, such as 9 ¾ Expresso.

9 ¾ Expresso is a small café in Carbondale, Illinois, and it’s completely Harry Potter-inspired, with baristas dressing in wizarding robes, a floating broomstick, and plenty of “potions” to drink.

 

Staff in their wizarding robes at 9 3/4 Expresso

Staff in their wizarding robes at 9 3/4 Expresso

 

The café is now connected to Elizabeth Strusz’s E. Claire Salon through a hallway, but this wasn’t always the case because this wasn’t the original design of the building. Before it was redone, staff had to walk through a break room and a small dark closet that was dubbed “the Harry Potter Closet.” 

Every time you walk through this dingy, scary closet, everybody’s like, ‘Oh, it’s a Potter closet’ because you just ‘poof!’ and you’re in this beautiful, sunny area.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Strusz decided to decorate, taking out part of the wall to create a hallway. Strusz then came up with the idea of making the newly formed, bright room into a café.

Once you take out a brick wall and you have a Harry Potter closet and you realize people like caffeine and you’re a huge geek, you marry all that together and you wind up with 9 ¾ Expresso.

The staff helped design the artwork throughout the building, and they’ve ended up with a magical space that includes a LEGO Hedwig, the Sorting Hat that sits on a cabinet, and a bright, painted stairwell.

 

Sorting Hat at 9 3/4 Expresso

The Sorting Hat at 9 3/4 Expresso

 

One piece of magical artwork is the owl post, which allows customers to take and leave letters of encouragement for others who visit the café, making them feel welcome.

The owl post is awesome because somebody, while they’re waiting for their coffee, might have something inspirational to pass on to the next person and the next person comes in and they can take it with them.

 

Owl Post at 9 3/4 Expresso

Owl post at 9 3/4 Expresso

 

This concept was built around the need for inclusivity. Strusz was bullied as a child and feels passionate that the café’s customers should feel welcomed and supported. The team is always working on ways they can improve the diversity of the community, making the café accessible to everyone.

As long as you’re nice and kind, we really want to support you and we want to make sure that you feel welcome and that you have a place to come to […] Everybody has a seat at our table.

All the staff members have their own part to play, and the baristas have a major role in the cafe’s inclusivity.

We’re definitely not just making drinks here; we’re wanting to sell the experience of being here and wanting to open a welcoming environment. If you don’t feel as accepted at your own place or your home, you have a place here you can call family.

Visiting 9 ¾ Expresso sounds like a wonderfully spellbinding and eye-opening experience, and we’ll be sure to give it a visit if we’re nearby!

 

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Grace Hurley

I'm an animal-loving Ravenclaw with a Masters Degree in Writing and a passion for the Harry Potter universe since the age of five.

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