A Little Bit Hippy Comes full Circle

Children enjoy a recent "unstructured" birthday party at "A Little Bit Hippy."
Children enjoy a recent “unstructured” birthday party at “A Little Bit Hippy.”

Heidi Bundy is a self-confessed Sixties enthusiast.  Her parents were “hippies” and she has always been quite taken by “the free spirit and the free love that they had at that time.  I don’t see why we can’t continue those traditions on today.”

Bundy now has the opportunity to combine her interest in the Sixties with her livelihood, as the new owner of A Little Bit Hippy.  Located in the upper level of Towers Shopping Center, A Little Bit Happy originally opened in 1999 and was one of several stores up and down the East Coast—with a second Roanoke store in addition to the Towers location.

The original owner decided to close the stores so she could spend more time with her sons in California.  Attracted to the store by its spirit, Bundy bought the business on June 1, 2011.

Now, over a year later, “A Little Bit Hippy – The Next Generation” (as the sign outside the store reads) has indeed embarked upon a new path by expanding the number of services it provides.

“The Next Generation,” Bundy says, “symbolizes a few different things.  It was actually a tagline that my marketing girl came up with. It started from really the fact that it was just me purchasing it from Denise [Sweeney, the original owner]. Our ownership is the second generation.”

 Acknowledging that she herself isn’t a child of the Sixties, Bundy still adheres to the interests and passions of that generation.  As she puts it, “So here we are—the next generation of hippies.  It also symbolizes all the new things that we can do with the store now.”

Among the new services, A Little Bit Hippy now offers a natural hair studio and birthday parties.  “It’s kind of a full circle store,” says Bundy. “It’s all about the community and giving back as much as we can.”

The parties are “as structure-free as possible, [and available] for any age,” and are all inclusive.  In addition to a Ladies’ Night Out, the store will be offering an upcoming Dad’s or Men’s Night Out.  Moreover, the store offers numerous craft workshops. “We do a lot of leather working, a lot of jewelry, some basic jewelry services, a lot of things that we can do with hair, just natural crafts,” says Bundy, “things that they would have done when they were living off the land and trying to be one with Mother Earth I suppose.”

Bundy admits that she experienced “a huge learning curve” when she initially purchased the shop.  “I’ve never owned my own store before, so there was a lot to learn.”  Just the same, it wasn’t an insurmountable challenge.  “I’ve had amazing employees, from those that came with Denise to those that we’ve brought in on our own. [They’ve] helped as far as getting the store to where my vision is for it, as well as having a great rapport with the community – and keeping everybody happy.”

In addition to retaining the store’s old clientele, Bundy has also managed to broaden its customer base by offering services that appeal to young people.  “We’ve got a lot of kids and teenagers and families coming in. We are a family-friendly store and there’s nothing that you have to shy away from showing your children in our store—nothing that you would have to explain to them, in a darkened corner somewhere that’s got a weird connotation to it.  We keep it that way. I’m a family person myself, so feeling that everybody is welcome into the store—that’s kind of what I want to encourage.”

 Currently A Little Bit Hippy is looking for a bigger location at Towers.  “We’ve been fighting for that since January, and hopefully [it] will still come through for us. It’ll three times the size of the store we’re in now.”

The additional space would be earmarked for the store’s product lines.  Bundy would also like to provide more and bigger classes. “We were hoping to be in there already but we’re still plugging away at it, working hard.”

(For more info go to alittlebithippy.com.

By Melvin E. Matthews, Jr.