Four Chics and a Cat opens on Tuesday on Broadway.
Just what is Four Chics and a Cat?
The proprietors of the new “twice as nice” resale shop spoke recently about their store and how the store will serve as a fundraiser for non-profit organizations working to help stray animals in the community.
The 4,000 square foot store is located at 1116 E. Broadway Ave. just past the train viaduct in the former Ernie and Nina’s $5 and Under Store.
The team putting together the store and kicking off the operation with a soft opening on Dec. 7 are the “Four Chics,” Amy Wietlisbach, president, Pamela Schaible, vice president, Ann Maurino, treasurer, Crystal Wallace, secretary and the cat in Four Chics and a Cat is “Gabby,” an 18-month-old rescue cat the team considers as either a mascot or guard cat.
“She’s the night manager,” said David Wietlisbach, Amy’s husband with a laugh.
David Wietlisbach said the group left the Blount County Humane Society after several years with the organization to start their own operation. “We wanted to see if we could assist other 501(c)(3) animal welfare groups,” he said. “A lot of these groups are good organizations but have difficulty raising funds and don’t have a fundraising entity and we want to assist them in raising those funds.”
Maurino said, “The store’s sole purpose is basically to be a fundraising business. All profits go to these 501(c)(3) organizations when they need money in emergency situations. Whatever they need they can come to us.”
The group said they want to work with organizations and it is important to them that animal welfare groups work together to accomplish their goals.
“It impressed us when we saw organizations like SPCA and ArfNets working together,” Amy Wietlisbach said of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Animal Rescue Network. “SPCA is our foundation for the store until we get our own charter.”
Amy Wietlisbach said they plan to have merchandise as well as a shopping environment that is “twice as nice,” as other resale shops and Wallace echoed those thoughts. “We don’t want it to be a rummage sale and we’re not a rescue operation,” she said.
Maurino said the store also takes donations of merchandise to resell. “They can donate items and get a tax receipt,” she said. “It’s going to be a very pleasant place to shop here. It will be pretty and organized.”
Amy Wietlisbach said the team running the store will work to help non-profit animal welfare organizations who provide appropriate documentation. “It’s important they are 501(c)(3) organizations and they have to be transparent organizations,” she said, to which Maurino added, “They have to be willing to share all documentation relative to finances and organizational structure.”
Wallace said when folks walk in the door they will find great deals on housewares, clothing, kitchen items, children’s items, electronics and more. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and for information about Four Chics and a Cat, call 233-5666.
One of the store’s first fundraisers was the Jeep Critter Wrangler on Nov. 6 on farm property owned by Gino and Kelly Bauchman located just off Nails Creek Road.
Maurino said that while inclement weather hampered the turnout, it was a fun, off-road riding event. “We had a terrific bon fire, hayride and good food with great friends. We had about 30 people and they ran the track,” she said.