By ALEXANDREA BAILEY
The Cat’s Meow Vintage Emporium and Gourmet Shop held a ribbon cutting and mixer on January 18 to celebrate its new location on 421 E. Maxan St., next to the lighthouse.
Owner, Catherine Donnelly, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. When she was 10, her parents moved their family upstate to a small town called Carmel. There she attended high school and spent her time enjoying the outdoors. Donnelly reminisced about picnics in the woods and ice skating on the frozen lake in the winter. She attended the New York University for a year, pursuing a small business management degree, and then moved to San Diego where she worked clerical jobs while attempting to finish her degree.
After meeting the proclaimed love of her life, Steve Donnelly, and marrying, the Donnellys moved to Arkansas, where Catherine attended the University of Arkansas, pursuing a degree in English/Creative Writing while working towards a Masters degree in Communications.
After moving to Port Isabel four years ago and using funds from her early retirement from the Air Force ROTC, inspired by the large demand of flea markets in West Arkansas, Donnelly started her business, The Cat’s Meow Vintage Emporium, three years ago. She had studied the area of Port Isabel thoroughly, according to Donnelly, and decided an indoor flea market was exactly what the town needed. The other shops in the area were extremely supportive of her.
Donnelly singled out the late Rob Bates, owner of the Rio Bravo Gallery, as being especially supportive. “He was always promoting us, always sending people down to us. He was a good mentor for us,” elaborated Donnelly.
According to Donnelly, one of her favorite parts of the indoor flea market business is meeting new people. She enjoys making healthy relationships within the community and assisting people in discovering treasures they are in search of. She loves discussing items’ histories and people’s collections. She also enjoys thinking outside of the box and being creative in the details, like her store layout and the presentation of merchandise.
“What I aim for is that when people walk in, they expect to have a fun and relaxing time,” described Donnelly. She uses her creative talents to cater to the diverse community of Port Isabel as well as the surrounding towns to fulfill everybody’s different needs and desires.
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