A Walk Through Pinterest...

My store has been called many things over the past seven years.  The most common..."Hello Kitty", of course!  My favorite..."A Walk Through Pinterest"!  But the name on the sign is KalamazooKitty.com.  Each day that passes, at some point during that day, I am asked what kind of store KalamazooKitty really is.  There have been a lot of assumptions over the years, and everyday new customers pile in, just to see if their guess is right!  While most think it is a cat adoption place, they are all pleasantly surprised to find treasures for their home around every corner!  So in an effort to spread the real word, I'm going to give you the run-down, and the ins and outs, of KalamazooKitty.com.

The name: KalamazooKitty.com.  Why?  Let's start with the obvious...Kalamazoo.  Both stores are located in the beautiful city of Kalamazoo, Michigan.  Kitty?  That's my name!  But why .com?  In the beginning, my ultimate goal was to place a photo of each item coming into the store on my website.  Well that didn't last long!  The items came and went so quickly that is wasn't physically possible for me to keep up.  It sounded like a good idea at the time!

Consignment.  Not clothes!  The word "consignment" was born when clothing consignment stores started popping up around the country years and years ago.  It wasn't until recently that furniture consignment stores starting dotting the map.  So why consignment for me?  Why not a cute resale shop?  Let's step back about a decade ago when I was knee-deep in decorating jobs and had nowhere locally to shop!  Kalamazoo had awesome high-end stores, including consignment, and we also had many thrift and resale shops.  I was looking for more!  I was looking for a huge place (or two) where I could shop for my everyday, average-income clients.  That is what Kalamazoo was missing.

In June of 2011, I opened up an empty 10,000 sf building.  Did I mention it was empty?!  As in void of any merchandise to sell?!  I didn't say I had the money to open a store...I just said that I WANTED to open a store.  That is why consignment was the perfect avenue for me.  So with kids in tow, I opened up the doors and waited.  How long did I wait?  Only a couple of months until the store was completely full!  However, I was not just collecting the pieces that came in each day, I was open for business as well.  By the fall of that same year, the store was bustling with shoppers and consignors galore!  Now keep in mind that I am not a genius or a magician.  I just saw a need in our community and opened a building to support it.  I know I am making it sound really easy, but it was late nights, hard work and huge sacrifices that made it all happen (and still is 7 years later!).  And get-rich-quick it is not!  I won't even go into all the expenses, hidden and obvious, that come with running a huge store, or any store for that matter.

If you are unfamiliar with consignment, I think it would be worth a minute of your time to check it out.  There are two sides to a consignment store: the consignor and the shopper.  The consignor is a person just like you and me, with unwanted furniture and items around your house.  At some point we wonder...how do I get rid of all this stuff?  Or you have inherited a houseful of antiques and furniture with no place to put it.  Well, the options are pretty simple: garage sale, craigslist, eBay or a local consignment store.  Garage sales take time!  Cleaning, organizing, pricing and praying for a sunny day!  Craigslist and eBay can take up valuable time as well, including packaging and shipping hassles.  So why not try local consignment?!  Just load up your car with clean, good quality stuff and drive it over!  It may be something YOU don't like or want anymore, but there is always someone else out there who would love it!  This is called RECYCLING!
That brings us to the shopper.  Now that your house is empty...you need to shop!  Consignment stores are full of treasures that will make your house look like a home, not a furniture store.  I always like to bring in old, vintage pieces to the rooms I decorate.  It makes the room feel like you have accumulated all these awesome pieces over the years.  It feels warm and cozy.  So next time you head to a new furniture store to outfit your home, take a side road to a consignment store and see what you will discover!

KalamazooKitty has more to offer than the average consignment store.  Both locations have some booths set up by local vendors.  These booths, both inside and out depending on the day, are packed full with vintage pieces, furniture, live plants and gifts for anyone you can imagine!  While about 80% of the stores are full of consignment pieces, these few booths make a big statement!  At the Portage Rd. location, the booths are located around the perimeter of the store.  However, at West Main, they are all centrally located in the "garage" area.  Some vendors focus on beautifully painted furniture while others focus on local Michigan accessories. 

Still want more?  How about learning to hand paint furniture?  I offer furniture and kitchen cabinet painting classes each month at the West Main location.  My love?  Chalk paint!  Throw away your old ideas of sanding, prepping and priming, and join the world of painting furniture with chalk-type paints!

So why "a walk through Pinterest"? KalamazooKitty is not just a store with furniture.  It is a place to come spend an hour or two gathering up decorating ideas, taking pictures and relaxing with friends.

In addition to being open year 'round Tuesday-Saturday from 10-6, we throw a big party about once a month from February through November.  During warm months, vendors rent parking lot space outside and set up booths to bring a whole new variety of items to the stores.  Speaking of variety, KalamazooKitty.com stores never look the same from one day to the next!  We receive hundreds of items a day from consignors at both locations.  So if you are looking for a specific piece of furniture or a vintage accessory, follow these two steps: grab it when you see it because it will be long gone by the time you circle back, and check back often because your perfect piece may have just arrived today!

Please note:  KalamazooKitty West Main has moved back into KalamazooKitty Portage Rd.!

This is from Kalamazoo...to you!


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