Sunshine Headquarters Too: a Coventry Village institution
Sunshine Headquarters Too is something of an institution on Coventry Road. The store has been there since July 14, 1972, and, in many ways, still reflects that old hippie sensibility that was so prevalent on Coventry back in the 1970s.
The store carries a wide variety of clothing, ranging from leather vests and suits to fur coats. Its extensive jewelry collection includes body-piercing jewelry, watches and spiked bracelets. Sunshine also sells wallets and other accessories, including theatrical contact lenses, and novelty items such as swords, knives and throwing stars.
In addition, Sunshine carries vaporizers, e-cigarettes and hookahs, and the store makes custom-blown glass items. “We make anything from wedding goblets to smoking pipes,” said Doug Hayslip, who has owned the store for more than 30 years.
Asked why he thought Sunshine has managed to survive for more than four decades, Hayslip said, "I think we have a good sense of style, and we change with the times. We also stay ahead of what is current. You always have to stay at least one step ahead of the trends. We go directly to the manufacturers instead of just going to trade shows, and we always get their newest line of clothing instead of their production line."
Hayslip added that he also thinks the store has good customer service. "You always have to do the right thing, and I think we try to do that with all of our customers," he said.
Sunshine offers a selection of “mystery bags” on the back wall. Each of the small paper bags has a drawing on the front, as well as a price, ranging from $20 to $200. Customers don’t know what’s inside the bag until they purchase it, but generally the contents are worth at least the price they paid, if not more.
Over the years, Sunshine has had many famous people visit the store and make purchases, including Nikki Sixx of Mötley Crüe, Alice Cooper, members of the Black Crowes, Fred Schneider of the B-52’s and Pete Townshend of The Who. In addition, many professional basketball and football players have also been to Sunshine.
Sunshine may be only store in Greater Cleveland where customers are greeted by a panther chameleon. Oliver J. Dragon is the chameleon’s name, and he has been at Sunshine for the past few months. Prior to Ollie’s arrival, the store had a resident iguana, who was there for 17 years.
Hayslip said of his store, “We really focus on hard-to-find items. We really like carrying different items than you can find elsewhere, and we pretty much have something for everyone.”
Sunshine Headquarters Too
1788 Coventry Road
Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
James Henke, a Cleveland Heights resident, was a writer and editor at Rolling Stone magazine for 15 years. He is also the author of several books, including biographies of Jim Morrison, John Lennon and Bob Marley.