By Jon Phillips
Hampton Union, Tuesday, August 22, 1995
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- After being shut down for over a month, the Real Hippie Sh*t Shop, located on Ocean Boulevard in between 'A' and 'B' streets on Hampton Beach, reopened on Friday, August 18 to a store full of customers and a storefront full of intrigued passersby.
The shop was shut down when Hampton Police claimed workers wrapping hair needed to be licensed by the New Hampshire Board of Cosmetology in order to perform their services. The owners of the shop disagreed, and in the ensuing controversy, the shop was shut down.
"When we rented this space, hair wrapping was legal," said Lonefeather, co-owner of the business. "When we opened, it became illegal."
Hampton Police Chief William Wrenn and Town Manager Hunter Rieseberg visited the store to find a banner greeting potential customers and tourists which read, "Hair wrapping is not a crime, we are open." According to Lonefeather, Chief Wrenn asked every one of his workers their name, age and address and then left to prepare arrest warrants. At press time, no arrests were made. Chief Wrenn was unavailable for comment.
"I don't think there's a law against it, but if there is Chief Wrenn will find it. He was very blatant about finding a loophole," Lonefeather said. "If not, I'm sure there will be one next year when we come back."
The Real Hippie Sh*t Shop has found a loophole of sorts of its own. When the shop reopened it did so as the Wiccan Church of Hampton. Wicca is an ancient form of witchcraft which emphasizes nature religion and the role of the healing arts. It also teaches the importance of love and respect of yourself and others. Lonefeather insists, however, that the church was not created just so the shop could reopen.
"We had services in the basement before, but the fire department came in and said we couldn't do that any longer because of the egress. So, we moved the church upstairs," he said.
Sabazius, or "God" as others in the shop refer to him, is the minister of the Wiccan Church of Hampton and said he and others conducted a new moon ritual on July 26 and prayed for new beginnings.
"That's what we wanted and that's what we have," he said.
He says he doesn't wish to talk about the situation with the Hampton Police Department because he "hates to be negative."
For his part, Lonefeather says he has never encountered as much legal opposition in all his travels. When asked if he needed a license to perform body piercing, which he does in the shop, he wryly said, "No, but you need one for hair wrapping, isn't that odd."
Lonefeather credits his landlord for much of the shop's perseverance.
"He has been very kind in putting up with me not being able to pay our rent," he said.
For their part, Real Hippie Sh*t Shop employees are excited to be back at work.
"It's wonderful," said Fish, who has been wrapping hair for just over two months. "The police don't worry me at all."
"A lot of people want their hair wrapped and we want to wrap it," said Reverend Jim, another employee. "We don't want to go to cosmetology school. It's foolish."
Patrons and friends of the shop are just happy to have a place to come back to.
"I feel so safe here. It's great," said Jamie, a 16-year-old Hampton teen.
Lonefeather will also have to face other legal action when he appears in Hampton District Court on August 30 to face disturbing the peace charges. Lonefeather said he was arrested after he yelled out, "Live free or die!" on July 4 during the fireworks display after police had warned individuals in the shop not to say another word.
For now, the store will remain open until the end of the beach season or until it can legally be shut down, whichever one comes first.