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This article was published 31/12/2018 (696 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A West End intersection is looking more like a kitty corner with the arrival of a new cat-centric business.
One Spoiled Kitty Inc., located at 1325 Portage Ave., is part pet store and part gift shop.
"It’s a store for cats and the people they own," said Grant Rogerson, who runs the business with his partner Donna Harris.
The pair of cat lovers have been together for 13 years and Harris says Rogerson had been musing about opening a cat-themed store for most of their relationship. They started pursuing the idea more seriously last spring and a vacant storefront on Portage just east of Valour Road seemed like the perfect spot to turn it into a reality.
"We thought there was kind of a synergy with this location," Harris said.
One Spoiled Kitty opened on Dec. 1 and with Pet Traders and Central Bark just down the street, the block has become a sort of hub for boutique pet businesses. However, Rogerson isn’t worried about competition between the neighbouring stores since they all serve a different segment of the pet owner population.
"Setting up next to a PetValu would be suicidal," he said.
Rogerson has owned businesses in the past but this is the couple’s first foray into retail — something that’s been a bit of a learning curve for both of them.
"Finding suppliers for some of this merchandise, it takes a lot to try and find the right things," Harris said. "I want to hear from people who want us to bring in certain items."
While the store does sell staples like cat food and litter box supplies, Rogerson and Harris have focused on stocking things that would appeal to customers who think of their cat as more than just a pet. There’s clothing (for both humans and cats), home decor, board games, art, jewelry, books, toys and everything in between.
"There’s this whole cat lifestyle — a cat culture you could call it," Rogerson said. "Cat culture is being a little bit obsessed with your cats and wanting to wear the clothes to identify as a cat person."
As small business owners, the couple aims to support other local entrepreneurs by stocking feline art and crafts made by local artisans. They also sell items in support of Craig Street Cats and are hoping to adopt a shop cat or two from the St. James shelter.
"I like the alternative to the big stores because while they might have everything there they might not offer some of the services that we offer," Harris said, adding that they hope to offer seminars on topics like cat training in the future. "We do want to create a bit of a community here."
Rogerson and Harris have two cats and a dog at home and have learned much of what they hope to share with customers through experience and a hearty amount of research.
"Setting ourselves up for this we’re going to be looked at as sort of the experts — and we’re trying, I’ve had cats all my life so has (Grant) and we’re also doing more research to see what works and what doesn’t," Harris said.
The business owners are nothing if not passionate and Rogerson had this to say about his love for cats:
"People who aren’t cat people have this impression that cats are evil or they're quiet or they would eat you if they had the chance — none of that’s true," he said. "These are very wonderful, social animals."
Visit facebook.com/onespoiledkitty for store hours and more information.
Eva Wasney is a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press.