Story and photos by Sarah Bauman
MSUM mass comm major
Downtown is a destination for shoppers, with specialty boutiques and independently owned stores offing unique items. To some, however, visiting downtown is all about seeing old friends.
But it’s not humans these shoppers come to see. Three local businesses have attracted a following because of their resident pets.
O’Day Cache, Scan Design and Lena K all have customers regularly coming to visit the pets who come to work every day with their owners.
Chloe is a nine-year-old Persian-barn cat mix who has made her home in O’Day Cache for over two years. The family pet of the O’Days, Chloe has become a downtown favorite. Teresa O’Day, daughter of store owner Cindy O’Day, said many people come in just to visit Chloe.
Some of those visitors bring gifts for the cat. Catnip toys, a cat bed and her very own portrait are just a few of the items Chloe has received over the years. Local artist Rando was commissioned by a customer to create a painting of Chloe. It rests proudly against the wall next to the cash register.
Visit Rando’s website here
Visit O’Day Cache’s website here
Cosmo is a four-year-old black lab-golden retriever mix who has been coming to Scan Design with Mary Cantrell since she was a puppy. People are always happy to see Cosmo, said Cantrell, and are disappointed if she’s not there when they stop in.
“She has the best mailman,” said Cantrell. Cosmo gets a treat from the mailman almost every day.
Cosmo loves greeting customers but shies away from people in big hats or dark sunglasses. She likes to see people’s faces, said Cantrell.
Visit Scan Design’s website here
Oliver is a four-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who spends his days at Lena K with owner Karissa Newby. Shy and sleepy, Oliver approaches new people carefully but with his tail wagging. “There’s not a mean bone in his body,” said Newby.
Everyone loves seeing Oliver, Newby said, and customers and the mailman bring treats for him as well. If a different person brings the mail, Oliver gets very sad, said Newby.
Customers sometimes invite Oliver into the dressing rooms at Lena K, but he waits outside until the curtain is shut, then sneaks in. He also loves giving customers kisses, said Newby.
Visit Lena K’s website here
Pets are always welcome
All three pet owners said customers often bring their own pets into the stores, and very few people have had anything negative to say about the animals. You wouldn’t find these pets in mall stores, but you wouldn’t find these stores anywhere else, either. Chloe, Cosmo and Oliver are like mascots, welcoming people to the casual, friendly atmosphere of downtown.