Wags and Kansas City Kitty are neighboring storefronts on the northeast corner of Mountain Ave. and College Ave. While Wags may relate to exactly the target animal its name implies, the origin of the name Kansas City Kitty is more obscure, and its target consumer is most certainly not cats.
But does the passerby see the store fronts as two competing pet stores?
“All the time,” said Matt Gauthier, owner of Wags. “They’re like, ‘how cool you have a dog store and we’re going to the cat store,’ and I’m like, ‘No, that’s not really how it works.’”
As one could guess from the name, while Wags has toys and food products for cats, they specialize in all things dog. Colorful pet toys, outfits and accessories fill the shelves.
It has a new grooming station as well. “We just added that in May,” said Gauthier. “It’s taking off.”
The two storefronts may want to pair up to target customers with pets. Pet owners can drop off their dog for grooming at Wags, then walk next door to pamper themselves by shopping at Kansas City Kitty. Because it’s true: clothing and accessories are sold at both Wags and Kansas City Kitty. The only difference is that one is for humans instead of pets.
“We’re a women’s boutique,” said Caitlin Stanley, merchandising manager at Kansas City Kitty. “We sell clothing, we try to do as many local artists as possible.”
Entering the boutique, featured trinkets and wall art from local artists add to the quirky style of this clothing store. Kansas City Kitty has over 10 local artists in the store from Fort Collins, Denver and surrounding areas, including the owners: Christie Wolf Guthrie and Trista Price. Everything from jewelry to scented candles can have a “local artist” tag. This women’s boutique also sells tops, sweaters and jeans.
Kansas City Kitty is having a store-wide sale on Oct. 25 to appease the undead as a part of Zombie Fest. One of the retailers in the store that night is Obey Clothing, owned by Shepard Fairey. Fairey is known best for his “Hope” poster creation for the Obama campaign, and his multiple ventures in graphic design shape the store in a unique way.
“For Christmas they send over a signed and numbered copy of a print,” said Guthrie.
Art has shaped this shop in another way, as well. The owners were inspired for the name from a 1941 vintage cartoon, “We the Animals Squeak.” “Kansas City Kitty” is a character name that became a nostalgic title for Guthrie and Price.
And even though they are next to a dog store today, most shoppers only have misconceptions about the first part of the label “Kansas City Kitty.”
“A lot of people actually come in and think we’re from Kansas City,” said Stanley.
Even though these two stores are next-door neighbors, both are locally distinctive in what they sell.
“I’m a really niche boutique here in Old Town,” said Gauthier. “And Kansas City Kitty is just a really cool women’s store. They don’t do any of the cat-product stuff.”
Collegian A&E Writer Sierra Cymes can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @sierra_cymes.