Molly and Tom Bedell are not your typical business people. And Two Old Hippies — the playfully named and recently opened clothing/stringed-instrument shop in the Gulch — clearly is not a conventional business.
“We have done everything to create vignettes and lifestyles themes throughout the store,” said Molly, pointing to a 1965 model Volkswagen bus anchoring the store’s midsection.
“We call it the Magic Bus,” Tom said. “When we think about the 1960s lifestyle, what better symbol than a Volkswagen bus?”
The Bedells came of age in the 1960s and love classic rock, pop and folk music. Molly digs The Eagles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Doobie Brothers and Little Feat, while Tom counts Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Peter, Paul & Mary among his faves. Both love The Beatles.
The Bedells recently arrived in Music City from Aspen, Colo., where they met seven years ago and where they opened their first Two Old Hippies in 2009. It was almost instantly successful, so they searched for a second locale. Nashville just made sense, Molly said.
“Tom and I have traveled all over the world and never thought we would land in any place other than Iowa or Colorado,” she said.
The son of legendary former U.S. Rep. Berkley Bedell, Tom grew up in Spirit Lake, Iowa. As a teen in the mid-1960s, the entrepreneurial young man confidently created his own boutique guitar brand and established two retail stores combining vinyl records and guitar sales.
“That was a time when there was free spirit and we believed we could make America a special place,” Tom said.
Fast-forward four decades later and Tom has jump-started the making of Bedell Guitars (and acquired Breedlove Guitar Co.), with the brand sold in approximately 200 music shops. With an interior design background, Molly has created clothing brand 2OH — available, of course, at Two Old Hippies.
Melding six-strings, rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and hip fashion, Two Old Hippies — like its gracefully aging owners — is unusual, and fascinating.
“People walk in,” Molly said, “and say, ‘Oh my gosh.’ ”