By Jesse Wood
July 9, 2014. When someone asks Krista and Rawn Kull, owners of The Happy Place and Rock ‘N Roll Emporium, for business advice, they’ll reply, “Is it fun?”
“The very number one thing is it has to be fun. If its fun, it will work out. It might take some time, but if you aren’t having fun, it’s not going to work,” Rawn said. “That’s the moral of the story.”
The Kulls moved to the High Country from Asheville in 2006 because, for one, they needed a change of pace and, two, the couple knew that they wanted to raise a family. And what better place to do that than in Boone?
They immediately opened Indo and eventually Screamies in what is referred to as the Boone Mini-Mall, located on the corner of King and Depot streets in downtown Boone. These enterprises eventually morphed into The Happy Place and Rock ‘N Roll Emporium, which are both unqiue stores with a wide array of merchandise that can’t be found anywhere else in the High Country.
“Up there,” Krista said, referring to The Happy Place, “it’s more of a hippy-chic vibe and down here, it’s more rock ‘n roll.”
“Back in the day in Atlanta, both of these stores would have been next to each other in a kind of funky area with the punks, hippies and all different kinds of people hanging out together, and now everything has gotten kind of mainstream,” Rawn said. “We are trying to do something different here and give people what they want.”
The Happy Place has tapestries, baja hoodies, incense, jam band memorabilia, t-shirts, didgeridoos and backpack ukuleles, hippy dresses, jewelry, unique toys for kids and so much more than can be listed here.
The Rock ‘N Roll Emporium is just that – an emporium with a ridiculous variety of merchandise featuring bands such Led Zeppelin, Sublime, The Ramones, Jimi Hendrix, Rush and more.
This store, which is at the end of the Boone Mini-Mall and is a favorite for patrons attending local balls, masquerades and Halloween parties that occur throughout the year, also has collector’s toys, costumes, sombreros, wigs, masks, tobacco pipes, men’s and women’s apparel, playing cards, stickers and, surprisingly, the finest used book store in the High Country, which is nestled in a little nook in the Rock ‘N Roll Emporium.
“We don’t know what we’ll have in a few months,” Rawn said. “If something is cool, we’ll bring it in.”
In the beginning, Rawn said that the stores mainly served a clientele consisting of tourists but have since morphed into a popular shop for the college students.
“The kids have opened up to us and we’ve opened up to them. It’s a good give-and-take relationship,” Rawn said, referring to “outside of the box” thinking that is bounced between the owners and students.
“We listen to what the customers want and that’s how a lot of things formed and [contributed to] what we order. When we had Screamies, it was a little hardcore and a little scary. That didn’t work, so we moved to rock ‘n roll,” Rawn said.
As merchants, Rawn said that this business is “helping to educate people not only on products but on lifestyles – and ways of being here to help one another.”
“We take it as far as to lecture shoplifters about their decision. If they victimize us they have to do something positive for somebody else. We can’t be the beneficiary of their positive action,” Rawn said, adding that he and Krista also make it a goal to teach young employees about working together and preparing them ready to go out in the real world and accomplish what they want to do.
“To inspire those to inspire others,” Rawn said.
Both stores are located in the Boone Mini-Mall on 641 West King St. at the corner of King and Depot streets in downtown Boone. The stores are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week.
To reach The Happy Place, call 828-264-0196. To reach the Boone Rock ‘N Roll Emporium, call 828-865-7625.
For more information, click to http://www.thehappyplaceus.com.