Business is ‘hopping’ at Arkansas shop

Mochi and Nacho help out at the East By West shop. (KY3)
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 4:30 PM CST
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EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KY3/Gray News) - At the East By West shop in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, business is “hopping.”

Mochi and Nacho, shop owner Yume Leavell’s bunnies, have never been a “hare” late for work.

Leavell has had bunnies in the shop for 22 years, ever since she got her first ones as gifts.

“I didn’t know what to do with the rabbits, and I work a lot,” Leavell said. “So I brought them to work so we could bond and play with them and stuff. And before you know it, they started pulling things from the counter.”

Instead of getting mad, Leavell got an idea: Put those bunnies to work!

Her bunnies sit at the shop’s checkout. Leavell will hand them credit cards or change. They grab them from Leavell, turn, and put them down for the customer. Leavell then hands the bunnies a paper bag that they grab, turn, and give to the customer.

Leavell says there’s not much training involved; the bunnies kind of “play it by ear.”

Mochi’s been working since last December and she has it down. Nacho has only been doing this since August and is still a work in progress.

Thankfully, there haven’t been any credit cards or dollar bills chewed up.

“Now, they might chew on the bags or the receipts,” Leavell said.

The bunnies get paid in treats. They get full medical benefits. And despite not being in a union, they get breaks to check out the guests in the store.

Another thing the bunnies have in common is they’re both adopted. Leavell has saved many bunnies over the years and given them a new lease on life.

“(Mochi) was in a cardboard box with her siblings, dumped in front of a gas station in Little Rock,” Leavell said. “(Nacho) was dumped in a park and hopped up to an animal control officer, hungry and thirsty.”

And Leavell has saved and tried training more than just bunnies.

“We had a guinea pig that worked once,” Leavell said. “Jelly Bean. She would hand out stuff.”

Thanks to Leavell, these bunnies can live “hoppily” ever after.

Leavell also has bunnies working at her other shop, Caroline’s Collectibles.