Ozarks Life: Business is “hopping” in Eureka Springs

East By West has bunnies greeting customers and showing off their unique talent.
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 8:45 AM CST
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EUREKA SPRINGS, Ark. (KY3) - At East By West in Eureka Springs business is hopping.

On this day, Mochi and Nacho are clocking in; they’ve never been a “hare” late. Shop owner Yume Leavell has had bunnies here 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,” Yume 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, Yume got an idea.

Put those bunnies to work!

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

Yume 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 though, he’s 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,” Yume 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.

“They could jump three feet high and sit on a stack of shirts,” Yume laughed, “(and) chew and get fur all over. But look at that... how cute.”

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

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

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

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

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

East By West is at 9 Center Street in Eureka Springs. It’s a short walk from the Basin Park. Yume also has bunnies working at her other shop, Caroline’s Collectibles. It’s at 2045 East Van Buren (Highway 62) also in Eureka Springs.

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