It's billed as a "festival shop," a collection of novelty products, clothing, and accessories where people who frequent music festivals can find any type of garb, headgear, and glow-in-the-dark accessories for concerts or music festivals. But to pin it down to just one genre of fun-inspired products? Impossible.
Reality, a festival/circus/hula hoop/bonsai/camping store, will open in Eastown
's Kingsley Building (1423 Lake Dr. SE, Grand Rapids) on June 22, the same day as that business district's popular Bizarre Bazaar.
Owners Kaylyn Gole, 23, and Casey Connolly, 22, solidified their plans to open a one-of-a-kind shop after several months traveling the U.S. in their van in 2012. The impromptu trip was how the couple cleared their heads and got a grip on their future after being attacked by three men at their former Wyoming, Mich. home.
"I've always been optimistic and expect the best out of life," Gole says. "We've helped each other evolve into the idea of 'let's do something that we really enjoy and are passionate about.' We were discussing these dreams with Dr. Robert Chatfield and he tossed it out on the table that he'd like to help."
Gole says Chatfield offered to invest in the business, and she and Connolly got to work creating the opportunity to open the shop.
The shop offers a plethora of products for clientele interested in the entertaining and lively kinesthetic arts -- products like metallic and LED hula-hoops, diabolos
, and fire-eating props. The store will also offer camping gear, water bottles, all manner of light-up accessories, clothing, incense, oils, 3-D tapestries, candles, jewelry making accessories – the list goes on.
Gole says the store is working on partnerships with local businesses and entertainers. Connolly's interest in bonsai connected him with GrowCo and an opportunity to offer bonsai plants and kits at Reality. A proposed partnership with the entertainers of Bangarang Circus
The couple has plans to engage so many people in hula-hooping for health that Grand Rapids will become the first Hoop City USA.
Source: Kaylyn Gole, Reality
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor