Matt Inglett spent five years touring with Phish, a New Jersey rock band known for its two-hour jam sessions and Grateful Dead-like following. He did not tour as a roadie or musician, but as a fan, and he has brought a slice of what he saw on tour back to Augusta.
The 25-year-old Augusta native has opened his own "head shop," a sort of Bohemian gift boutique, called Kind Finds on Eighth Street next to Southern Barber College. The shop boasts handmade bongos, hand-woven hemp necklaces and hand-blown glass pipes.
Most of the merchandise is made by artists Mr. Inglett met on tour.
"Every downtown I know of with any kind of scene has a head shop," Mr. Inglett said. "Downtown has made quite a comeback, with all the restaurants and bars and activity, and this is just part of it."
Kind Finds sells incense, clothes and tie-dyed cotton lamp shades, in addition to general fare such as beer, tobacco and snack food. The shop is in the middle of a monthlong conversion from what was the Garden City General Store, which was opened about a year ago by Mr. Inglett's sister, Candace.
Chris Naylor, executive director of Augusta's Downtown Development Authority, said Kind Finds is similar to stores seen in many downtown areas and should appeal to a younger demographic.
"There is an eclectic array of shops down here, and that's part of the economic development of downtown," Mr. Naylor said. "We're targeting all demographics, and you need a range of shops and retail, a good blend, to do that.
Mr. Inglett said he hopes to distinguish Kind Finds from similar shops, such as Tie-Dye Rosie on Old Evans Road and Modern Age Tobacco Shop on Peach Orchard Road, by relying as little as possible on catalog merchandise.
"I want this to be a little more authentic, more organic, more home-grown," he said. "That's where the people I met on (the Phish) tour come in. This is some really original stuff."
Reach John Bankston at (706) 823-3352 or email@example.com.