The Grand opening of "the Cat's Meow" at 208 Marsh Street in downtown Clarksburg took place on Friday November 30th at 6.00 p.m. This newly refreshed building has become a treasure shop of previously loved household items, furniture, books, art and more, to be sold exclusively for the benefit of the Clarksburg Cat Shelter.
Started in 2005, by a few caring people who have a passionate love of cats, this non profit organization provides care and shelter to homeless cats in the Clarksburg, Meaford and Thornbury area. The shelter's mission is to provide the community with a safe haven for these cats, within the ability of its resources, for however long it takes to find them a permanent home.
An increase in need for this service, coupled with a decrease in funding, inspired some Shelter volunteers to come up with the idea of a charity shop. A building suitable for such a purpose was found at 208 Marsh St. Clarksburg, just a few minutes walk from the Shelter. Long time volunteer, Diane Walker, negotiated a favourable agreement with the owner and once the lease was signed, a small army of dedicated volunteers descended on a rather worn looking building and transformed it into "The Cat's Meow".
As darkness fell and the opening hour approached, there was a certain amount of trepidation in the air. Would the deadline be met? Displays were still being set up, more donated goods were being delivered and a heavy snow was falling blanketing the streets of Clarksburg with a mantle of white and making driving conditions unpleasant, if not dangerous. At 6.00 p.m, the window lights went on and the freshly painted doors to "The Cat's Meow" were opened. Visitors were warmly greeted as they entered by friendly volunteer staff, who offered hot beverages and a wide range of home baked treats. Visitors were shown the various sections of the store, which although not large, contains a wide variety of interesting items ranging in scope from jewelry, ceramics, books and original artwork. Looking out through the stores large windows, one could see falling snow flakes illuminated by the street lights; groups of warmly wrapped people strolling the sidewalks and a horse drawn sleigh carrying noisy well wishers up and down the streets. It was like a scene from Dicken's "Christmas Carol" and "The Cat's Meow" was "The Olde Curiosity Shop". A truly magical experience and great place to pick up that "special gift" for Christmas.
After the ceremonial ribbon cutting which occurred prior to the 9.00 p.m closing, Dianne, on behalf of the Clarksburg Cat Shelter Committee members, thanked all volunteers, sponsors, donors and patrons for making the grand opening such a success.
Opening night was a success, but this is a long term project and the Clarksburg Cat Shelter relies heavily on community support. Continued help is needed to meet the shelter's objective of providing care and loving homes to the areas less fortunate feline population.
The newly created website designed by Kasey Naish, a shelter volunteer, provides all the information needed to view, adopt, donate or volunteer. If you visit the Adopt page on the site, it will lead you to the two black kitten siblings, Amber and Olive, who were adopted on the shop's opening day, just in time for Christmas.
Written and Submitted by David Long