Sep 222004
Authors: Gabrielle Heise

Kansas City Kitty, 226 Pine St., may sound like the name of a Vegas burlesque show, but it’s actually a funky, little clothing store tucked away in an old garage downtown.

After owners Christie Wolf and Trista Holliday talked about opening a store, they went out looking for available spaces. They left thinking they were just going to browse around and get some ideas, since they had no merchandise or anything else ready to open the store. As they cruised around downtown, they found a vacant garage on Pine Street. After peaking in the windows, they immediately decided it was perfect; they even loved the raw walls and paint on the floor. Hours later they called to start leasing the space and opened the store in October 2002.

“We did it so backwards it’s not even funny,” Wolf said.

They did research at trade shows such as Magic, a trade show in Las Vegas, and some shows in Los Angeles. It took three months to actually open the store – time spent mainly waiting on the clothes that took awhile to get delivered.

The store carries apparel that people can’t normally find in Fort Collins. One rack holds only items that Wolf and Holliday make out of recycled T-shirts. Wolf and Holliday only started sewing last spring, but the shirts are already a hit with their customers. A lot of local designers also contribute to the store, providing scarves, jewelry and T-shirts with designs from local graphic artists.

“Kansas City Kitty is a place to find clothes to fit your unique and eccentric style that you can’t find anywhere else,” said Emily Knight, a junior art major.

The owners’ friends helped get the store ready to open by building the fitting rooms. The store’s d/cor is a retro, vintage style that Wolf and Holliday pulled off using things from flea markets and thrift stores. The cash register sits on a gutted-out kitchen counter still complete with the controls for the stove and a pale pink finish. Old records make up the border around the fitting area and no retro look is complete without a tacky picture of a cartoon kitten (really, what could be more appropriate?)

“Kansas City Kitty” is actually the name of an old cartoon character Wolf saw on television one morning. The name stuck because it matched the retro style they were seeking.

“I think it’s great to have a locally-owned business that portrays such genuine creativity,” said Ali Quinn, a junior English major.

Wolf said she makes it a point to make every customer feel comfortable as they come in. The store was opened as a creative outlet for Wolf and Holliday, and they strive to make it exciting for the customers.

Local residents looking for more unique clothing than the mall has to offer are the regular clientele. As two such women check out a pair of strappy sandals, Wolf eagerly tells them, “those are so cute; they show off your toe cleavage.”

“We just do what we like. We’re pretty different,” Wolf said.

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