The Infinite Mushroom has sold bongs,
black lights and other paraphernalia for more than 3 decades

Sentinel Staff Writer January 8 2004

The store got its start as a design shop, but incense and exotic pipes sold better than decor.

The Infinite Mushroom -- as close to an Orlando institution as you can get and still be a head shop -- is closing after 35 years at the sometimes awkward intersection of capitalism and what used to be called the counterculture.

What a drag.

The owners blamed a host of problems, including increased competition, the impending loss of their lease at the East Colonial Drive strip mall where the store moved in 1986, and the difficulty of finding a new location with neighbors comfortable with what the store sells.

The Infinite Mushroom still offers the accouterments of the bygone hippie life -- just fewer of them -- to a new generation that somehow continues to find uses for far-out beads, bongs and black lights.

The store started with posters, incense and water pipes -- for tobacco only, of course -- in 1968, when it evolved from an interior-design shop at the former Colonial Plaza Mall.

"It didn't start to be a head shop," said Nancy Noyes, a part owner of the store. "It became that. Pipes became popular, so they sold."

Noyes' late mother, also named Nancy Noyes, worked in a design shop called Decor on the Mall in the Colonial Plaza shopping center. But the shop's owner, Grace Lindblom, found that posters, incense and exotic pipes sold better than home decor, so she renamed the business and moved it a short distance away. The elder Noyes bought the store in 1980 and ran it until 1997.

Today's 'Shroom stocks off-beat greeting cards, candles and what a slightly reticent Jamie Swistock, store manager, could describe Wednesday only as "adult stuff." Also, in an accommodation to ever-evolving tastes, the store sells jewelry for body piercings.

Melanie Ryder checks out a candle while working at the Infinite Mushroom on Wednesday. Business at the shop plunged after the nearby Peaches music store closed a few years ago, and last year the staff was cut to 4 workers. (JESSICA MANN/ORLANDO SENTINEL) Jan. 8, 2004

Annual sales at the Infinite Mushroom hit a high of nearly $800,000 about four years ago, not including its lucrative TicketMaster concession, said Phyllis Johannes, the younger Noyes' business partner.

But business plunged when the neighboring Peaches music store closed a couple of years ago, Johannes said. Last year, the Infinite Mushroom did less than $400,000 in sales and cut its employment from a high of 10 to just four people to remain profitable, Johannes said.

While the store dates to the apex of the psychedelic age and its merchandise still harks back to a pot-smoking youth culture, its current owners are not retreaded hippies.

"I could not tell you one Grateful Dead song," said Noyes, who was sensitive to the head-shop label. She said that, while she worked years ago with her mother in the shop, "The most we ever did was wear halter tops and bellbottoms."

Johannes, equally uncomfortable with the drug-paraphernalia connotations of the term "head shop," is a Republican and said: "Neither one of us ever smoked pot."

Johannes said the store will probably stay open at least through Valentine's Day,
and maybe until the end of February.

Barry Flynn can be reached at [email protected]"> [email protected] or 407-420-5240.

The store's merchandise harks back back to hippie culture.

Hippie shop to close By Barry Flynn
From: radtimes [email protected] Thu, 08 Jan 2004

Cybrary: Hippie shop to close

Jaxfest: hunted in Florida by Christopher Largen (05 Jan, 2004)
Pepper spray and police harassment at Florida's hemp-friendly Jaxfest.
Fat Freddy Freak and the War of the Weed
Laurence Cherniak presents Fat Freddy * Poster * furry freaks
With Freedom Fighting Heros including but not limited to featuring Jack, Jeannie, Todd, Peter, Renee, Shaun, Dana, Kaleb, Chis, Rythm, Steve, Frank, Michael, Brian, Ben, Linda, Alan, Sarah, Melissa, Doug, Rich, Larry, David, Kevin, Aerial, the Trash Cans, Perry, Russ, Greg, Herbert, el Nathano, Jess, and Laurence of Lancelot known for his TRUE LOVE and faithful lover Constance of Comelot.
George McMahon, one of the remaining patients in the federal medical marijuana
program and a founding member of Patients Out of Time
Copenhagen Vows to Press Drug Crackdown

Hashish war ignites bonfire

Protest Songs

Free Tommy Chong!

Denmark Enclave Tears Down Hashish Stands By Jan M. Olsen
Source: Associated Press January 04, 2004
Copenhagen, Denmark -- Residents and hashish dealers who have openly bought and sold illegal drugs in Copenhagen's famed hippie enclave Christiania for decades demolished their booths Sunday to avoid a crackdown they fear would lead to their eviction. The government wants to build upscale housing in the 84-acre area, a former naval barracks that is now a community of about 1,000 people. The government and Danes have been calling for a crackdown on the area's drug sales, which have long been tolerated by police. Read More...

Hippies besieged: Prepare to make war - not love

Poster exhibits in tune with the turbulent, technicolor '60s
The Salt Lake Tribune By Christy Karras 03 Jan 2004

web: Los Angeles Center for the Study for Political Graphics.
Probably the largest collection of political posters
from early in the Twentieth Century to today.
They mount exhibitions with various themes around the US regularly.
They are always looking for new posters to ad to their collection,
email: [email protected]
voice: 323-653-4662

A Lesson From The Sixties By Wayne Barnes
radtimes [email protected] 07 Jan 2004
Several months after the Black Panther Party's shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department in 1969, the militant organization was in disarray. Two leaders, each supported by a block of followers, emerged from the rubble: Huey Newton and Eldridge Cleaver. Cleaver was a wanted fugitive and had departed the United States for Algeria. A group of Cleaver-faction former Panthers started a new group, the "Nation of Nigretia." They described themselves as a country without land, ostensibly, descendents of black slaves brought from Africa and now spread throughout the U.S. It took little time for a sixth investigative sense to tell the FBI agents assigned to "extremist matters" that something was afoot. Continued...