Tablet Local

In Arlington, ’60s-themed store bridges generational, cultural divides

The graffiti-covered hippie van parked out front is a pretty good indication that the funky shop Groovy Goods, 3415 S. Cooper St., travels to a different drummer.

In fact, once a month a drum circle sets up camp in the strip center’s parking lot after hours, and belly dancers, hula-hoopsters and fire dancers do their thing. Spectators set up lawn chairs and blankets, kids frolic. It might as well be Haight-Ashbury of the ’60s instead of present-day Cooper-Mayfield.

“We like to bring a little of that here, to the middle of Arlington,” said Elaine Burn, Groovy Goods owner. The shop sells posters, Boho clothing, CDs, jewelry, incense, rocks and crystals, tie-dyed shirts and other hippie ephemera — including hookah supplies, glass pipes and other smoke accessories in a small boutique off the main sales gallery.

Though Groovy Goods caters primarily to a multicultural and even counterculture crowd, its outreach activities have brought it into the mainstream of Arlington life this summer.

The shop sponsored the third place-winning float in the “unique commercial” category of the Arlington Fourth of July Parade earlier this month, and a related hula hoop fitness group with an Arlington company called aRound Joy won first place in marching units with their fanciful hula hoop brigade.

The drum circle recently performed with Playing For Change at Levitt Pavilion. Next up, Burn said: the Fort Worth Volks Folks Volkswagen car show on Nov. 1 in Fort Worth.

The shop also hosts open mic nights for musicians and poets, a henna tattoo artist on some Fridays and pranic (energy) healing seminars.

Groovy Goods has been open under its current name for about a year, though its predecessor, Feed Your Head, opened in 2010. A partnership breakup closed down the business for seven months, Burn said, and she reopened late last year with an emphasis on consignment goods handmade by locals, unique events, and the Flower Child-friendly slogan “More than a Store. It’s Community.”

Rick and Sherri Tracey of Fort Worth buy into that. The couple donned their tie-dye, snatched up their pet ball python (named “Pantera”) and showed up for this month’s drum circle.

“We love coming here and we never miss a drumming,” Sherri Tracey said. “The open mic nights are great too, where someone tells a story, reads a poem or plays a song. It’s free entertainment.”

Jeanne Mason-Howerton, a director and member of the Wild Sky Tribal belly dance group of Arlington, prepared for her turn on the parking lot during the drum circle.

“We do American Tribal Style, an improvisational form of belly dancing,” said Mason-Howerton, resplendent in silk, sequins and eye makeup. “In other words, we make it up as we go along.”

The Traceys chatted with Cindy Durham, an artist whose jewelry, paintings and recycled art are sold on consignment through the shop. Durham also helps out at the counter on drum circle nights.

“It’s not just customers,” Durham said, “it’s like a little gathering place for the community.”

Arlington police say they have had no noise complaints or other issues associated with the store or the festival activities.

Burn admitted that, as in the ’60s, some people aren’t on board with a hippie revival. She was only 9 years old herself when the iconic Woodstock festival happened in 1969, so she was too young to experience the full effect of the Vietnam War and social upheaval of the day.

“We have to be sensitive that there are still a lot of hard feelings from that era,” she said, remembering some boos from fans along the Fourth of July parade route. “We just try to embrace the community, the good part of that era.”