Hippie Hop, the newest business in the Atrium
Last updated 6/11/2020 at 8:12am
Last month, a new shop opened in the Atrium, making it the building's newest business.
The Hippie Hop tobacco shop is owned by Ryan Johannesen, a Havre native who was living in Great Falls before moving back to his hometown to start his new business.
"I've always wanted to do something that was my own ... I wanted to try my hand," he said.
Johannesen said he has a lot of ideas, but for now he's looking to expand his apparel and novelty inventory in the near future, as well as hire some help.
"Hopefully, we'll get to a point where we can hire some people," he said.
He said that before returning to Havre, he looked in other towns but had trouble finding a suitable location for the business, but the Havre location caught his eye.
"This location in the Atrium is really what got us," Johannesen said.
He said he had a lot of ideas for what his business would be before settling on a tobacco shop.
"There were a lot of ideas I had," he said, "I thought about doing a barber shop, I thought about doing a food truck, and this was the idea I got by the time I decided to run with it. I thought it would be a good one to try in terms of starting up."
Johannesen moved to Great Falls, where he lived for five years working as a cashier at a couple of gas stations. There he met his wife, Katara. They've been married for two years and have a son named Kingston.
He said his parents and grandmother still live in town and most of his family is from north-central Montana.
Johannesen said the COVID-19 pandemic has made for an interesting opening for his new business.
"That was definitely a little bit of a setback since it wasn't in the U.S. when I decided to start, and then all of a sudden it was," he said.
He said despite the pandemic his shop has had a couple of good weeks, but the pandemic has undeniably affected some others.
Johannesen said he's looking forward to the Atriums' Grand Re-opening, which will be taking place June 26, an event which was the original idea of Derek Hann, owner of the Havre Book Exchange, and will feature live music and a raffle.
"My hopes really are for us to be successful, and hopefully it won't take long after the Grand Re-opening and getting through all the phases," he said.
Johannesen said he hopes the event will increase the support for small businesses and boost awareness for his shop as the state's re-opening continues.
He said, despite the setbacks, he's confident in his new business and opening it has been exciting, especially when helping his customers.
"It's been fun, it's been interesting, it's been a learning experience," he said, "... Overall, I have a good feeling about the business."