Hippie shop Good People heads west

Tracy Haun OwensOn the Grow, West Knox

Good People is looking to find more of its people. The family-friendly shop sells what might loosely be called hippie gear – think tie-dyed shirts, incense, essential oils, crystals, Grateful Dead patches, Peace Frog stickers and more. The shop opened in South Knoxville almost two years ago and has attracted a passionate customer base. Owners Kathy Dawn and Rick Whitener (mother and son) have now moved out west to Baron’s Place, the shops adjacent to Rothchild Catering and Conference Center, at 8817 Kingston Pike.


The collection of shops is very much in line with Good People’s demographics. In keeping with its all-ages focus, Good People is not a head shop. In this center, though, one of the oldest head shops in Knoxville, Off the Wall, is right across the way. The two send each other customers. There’s also a homebrew supply place, Ferment Station, and a vape shop, plus munchies at Roger’s Place and International Delicacies.

“We think West Knoxville will be good for us,” Dawn says, adding that one of their South Knoxville customers told them about the location when it came open. The center itself has more visibility and more foot traffic, and she and her son love their new landlords, the Rothchild family.

Dawn spent 20 years in marketing and loves meeting people and telling them what the shop is all about. As Good People settles into its new location, Dawn hopes to ramp up participation in local events and to expand the store’s efforts on behalf of Young-Williams Animal Center, Second Harvest and other good causes. Last year the shop recruited customers to help with an Ijams Nature Center clean-up day. There will be more opportunities to “be Good People” in the coming months.

Good People participated in the 2018 Pride parade, and although the busy move prevented the shop from doing so this year, “We’ll be back next year, no matter what,” Dawn says.

The inventory of the store varies depending on customer demand, although the in-house-dyed T-shirts are the biggest staple. Dawn and Whitener owned a laundry together in North Knoxville but found it a stressful occupation. When they went to an event where tie-dye was being demonstrated, they caught the germ of a business idea. Customers may also participate in dying their own T-shirts and getting a lesson in the craft.

The store’s true commodity is that of being an oasis of kindness in a world where people increasingly feel free to be mean to each other. The one rule of Good People is “no jerk faces,” and the shop’s clientele have complied.

“We have the best customers,” Dawn says. It seems peace, love and understanding are a serious business, after all.

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