Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Cat

Why would I drive over fifty miles to go clothes shopping at a store with "cat" in its name?  Y'all know I'm a dog person! Well, the Calico Cat in Greenville, Texas is my "go-to" place.  They've got clothes, they've got shoes and accessories, they've even got gifts and kid stuff.

But I'll tell you what they've got that's special.  They've got Betsy Kingsbury, a saleswoman extraordinaire, who'll help you find just what you need.  Then, she'll pin up your new pants if they're too long, and send them off to alterations, where they'll alter and mail 'em back to you.  Betsy's become a friend of mine.  Today, I ate lunch with her in the Cat's back room.  She a cattle roper, too, and she's always inviting me out to her ranch.
They have Janeen Cunningham (no relation, unfortunately!), the owner, who runs this place like a general with a heart of gold.  I can't count the number of nice things her employees have told me about her.

They've also got Ana, who started out as their high school intern.  Ana's in college now, but still working at the Cat.  She told me that it's like having five mothers working there, but that she loves every minute of it.
They've got a lot of pride in their shop...Betsy asked that I take a photo of their upstairs gift wrapping room, which she'd just finished organizing.  Apparently, things at the Cat move quickly during the holidays, and they're anticipating an onslaught of shoppers.
Yep, custom gift wrapping.  I was also MORE than impressed with boxes of gifts already sold and wrapped, and being held for their lucky recipients.  I wonder...who'll get this lovely gift and what IS it?
Because of the upcoming holidays, I'm guessing that boxes of inventory are delivered daily.  Here's a bird's eye view of their back room.  Yep, that's all new merchandise!
They've also got a lot of heart.  Mary Lauderdale, the Queen of Cats, passed away recently, at age 85.  The former owner of Mary of Puddin' Hill, Mary "flunked" retirement, and took over the Cat's back room five years ago, where she was in charge of unpacking and pricing, as well as managing the inventory and special orders.  Every year, the Cat sponsors an event called "Bras for the Cause."  One-of-a-kind bras are designed, decorated, and put on display.  They then host an evening with friends for the cause, who are encouraged to bid on their favorite bra.  All donations go to the Cancer Center at Hunt Regional Healthcare Foundation. The Cat ladies are shameless!  They won't take no for an answer, and they raise A LOT of money.  This year's special bra was designed in honor of Mary.

 I also managed to snap a photo of their neighbor's entry.  Yes, it's a train store for hobbyists, and, yes, it was a training bra...

So, why do I drive all that way?  Good friends, good people, heart (lots of it), not to mention the best customer service I've ever found.  Call me if you need directions to the Cat.

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