Do you remember Shannon’s Boutique, the cool clothing store which was located a block or two north of Yakima Avenue, in downtown? It was owned and operated by the great Shannon Kolb. Circa 1968, it was one of the places where the town’s small hippie population hung out. A kid with a few bucks in his/her pocket could purchase a beautiful Nehru shirt, hippie frock, or bell-bottomed pantsuit. Plus accessories such as love beads, bangles and peace symbols.
There were few hippie hangouts in Yakima, and they were all so short-lived. The Gallery and Electric Angel, two live performance venues, came and went; but if I remember correctly, Shannon’s Boutique stuck around for a while. A lot of times, we young hippies would just gather there, not really spending any cash. But Shannon was cool. She was a bit older than the rest of us. She may have been 30. She was like a big sister to us. She always had the best music playing in the store.
It’s hard for me to remember if Shannon made all of the hip clothes she offered, or if she combed the world to find the best that was out there, which she then stocked. I’ll bet you this: if you could find something from her store now, it would cost a pretty penny.
I wish I could recall how long the boutique lasted. And I’d surely like to know if Shannon is still with us. I’d say, “Thanks for giving us a safe space, Shannon!”
I recall one other popular hippie hangout, a pinball parlor located southwest of downtown, which featured all the popular games, along with a great sound system, over which KMWX was blasted. I remember being there one night with my long-haired friends, playing pinball, visiting, when suddenly, KMWX DJ, Randy Pugsley, threw one of my old band’s (The Velvet Illusions) songs on the turntable! Everything stopped while my song played. It was a magic moment. I got lots of hippie handshakes. The song was one I did the vocals on, “Town Of Fools”, in 1966. Here I am in 2012, doing it solo, in Seattle: