Rising from the parking lot of concerts and festivals,
a couple of passionate people built an iconic business inspired by a generation of individual freedom and expression.
The First Shop Vending jewelry and craft items at concerts was the first step but Christine & Anthony wanted to bring some of the magic they found on Grateful Dead tour, to their hometown. So in 1995, with a small family loan they opened their first shop called Urban Paradise in the Meadowlands area of Northern New Jersey. They filled the shelves with everything that reminded them of the good times they had at concerts and festivals.
Building a Community People loved the vibe they were sharing; their shop became a gathering place, somewhere for people with the same love for music to share their experiences, and make new ones. From 1996 to 1998 they sponsored a fundraising charity event called The Grateful Gathering Picnic. The whole community got together to celebrate the life of Jerry Garcia at Riverbank Park in Kearny, NJ. What started as a group of friends getting together to listen to local bands and eat barbeque, blossomed into an annual event with over 700 attendees.
Turn On-line or Drop Out
Their local fan base was growing but Anthony knew to survive they had find a way to turn the world on to what they were doing. Although his original thought was to focus on a mail-order business, at the time a cyber revolution was staring to take place. When a friend invited him to check out his new personal computer, he had a classic eureka moment. He decided that instead of printing a paper catalog he would take a risk on a new way of doing business.
The Birth of HippieShop.com
Anthony purchased a computer, learned how to write HTML code and in 1997 launched HippieShop.com. Starting the world's first hippie shop online was truly a bold move. To take grasp of a new technology back then wasn't easy, in fact it was quite a challenge. It was difficult to get banks, suppliers and customers to put trust in a web site.
From our Garage to your Door
In 2001 they moved into a garage space that could accommodate the now flourishing online business. They hired help, Anthony got the operational procedures down and Christine worked on a plan for customer care and purchasing inventory.
Learning how to run an online business through experience…like true pioneers, it made for slow but steady growth. As the years went by, there were definitely some ups and downs but at least they were happy making a living doing something they both loved.
The Next Level
In 2005 it was time to take it to the next level. They legally changed the name of the business to Hippie Shop LLC and created an equal partnership. Then relocated to a new location where they could run their whole business under one roof. It was a 5000 sq. space with retail in front, offices and a warehouse in the rear.
Summer of Love Car Shows
Anthony & Christine found a way to combine their love classic cars and music. From 2006-2009 they held a charity car shows at their shop. It would draw hundreds of cool cars, trucks and motorcycles for good food and live music.
Spectators enjoyed a free show and the car show entry fee was donated to local charities.With groovy vans with shag carpets to an awesome array of classic Volkswagens; this was truly a one of a kind event.
Gathering for Peace
Reconnecting with their fans in May 2008 was a blast.
They held a free event called The Gathering for Peace to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Peace symbol. Hundreds of fans enjoyed live music, food and shopping at their new location
The band Phish of Burlington, VT has always inspired Hippie Shop, especially Christine. So when they decided to host Festival 8 in 2009, Anthony had a great idea. Why not build a custom Volkswagen van and give it away to benefit Phish’s WaterWheel Foundation. It has been really fun and a total win-win for everyone. They get to work with a band they love, a fan gets a one-of-a-kind prize and local charities get a nice donation.
Since then it has become a tradition. They donated a Camper in 2011 at Superball, Vespa Scooters in 2012 for Phish Summer Tour, a Fuego Lowrider bike at Randall’s Island, NYC in 2014 and a Convertible Volkswagen at Maganaball in 2015.
The Flagship, Rise and Fall
From 2007-2011 opportunity knocked and they moved to a new building in Fairfield, NJ. They built a brand new store that included a vintage VW bus as a focal point. As this store grew in popularity the fear of possible flooding was realized when this store was overtaken by hurricane Irene in August 2011. Anthony says “What knocks us down, only makes us stronger”. This storm forced them to focus on the big picture.
In the Spotlight Our products could be seen in many TV Shows, Movies, Broadway Plays and Musicals. We have also been featured in news articles and magazines from around the world. In 2011 our clothes and accessories were worn by Germany’s Next Top Model and at Coachella featured in In-Style Magazine.
Solar Powered and ready to Rock In October 2013 they moved their corporate headquarters a new building located in Randolph, NJ. When they found this space they knew it was the perfect fit. It is the perfect place to house their offices and warehouse but best of all it is completely solar powered.
This new space will really set the stage for them to take the business to new heights. Not only can Hippie Shop carry many new products they can also increase productivity and get customer orders out faster then ever, and that just plain rocks!
Living the dream
Today they are providing fellow music fans, friends and family with the highest quality products at lowest prices possible. They love and support the musicians from the Psychedelic 60's to the modern day Festival & Jam bands. They are proud to offer their own products as well as a variety items from unique distributors and manufactures. In doing so they help support many small American, Co-op and Fair-Trade businesses from around the globe. They also make social and environmental responsibility a duty by recycling paper, packaging materials and boxes, reducing waste and by being energy efficient within their company. With all that they have gained they also regularly give back to local charities and non-profits. Their goal is to simply follow their passion for life, music and good times, to make their customers happy and have fun doing it.