Alley Cat’s journey from basement to storefront

If you have ever found yourself wandering down Main Street in Geneseo, you know what a breath of fresh air the unique small shops and restaurants are. Located on the corner of Center Street and Main Street, Alley Cat Boutique is a favorite among students and locals alike. The family-owned thrift shop opened its doors in fall 2009 as the first shop of its kind in Geneseo. Owner Connie Saffan has been an avid thrift shopper since she was a teenager. The items that the store originally opened with were in fact one-of-a-kind items that Saffan herself had collected in her basement.

When it came to choosing a name for the store, Saffan brought in her own personal experiences. Having difficulty finding work in the years prior to opening the store, she said that she “had spent the past two years wandering around unwanted … much like an alley cat.”

Now five years since the Alley Cat first opened its doors, the store has bloomed into a great destination for anyone who is looking for unique, high quality and fairly priced goods.

Saffan brings items from all over to her customers. With items ranging from flags, banners, Turkish jewelry, shoes, pants, incense, toys and costumes, the store has something of interest for any shopper.

“Last year, I sold a number of Tiffany lamps,” Saffan said. “And the college kids love the costumes.”

Throughout the years, Saffan’s list of places to buy items for the store has grown from strictly smaller shops to including wholesale sellers, customer return departments and new sale sellers. Saffan stressed how she strives to listen to what the people want, which has led to her bringing some unused items to her store such as incense.

“This isn’t Goodwill,” Saffan said. She painstakingly picks through items to ensure that the goods she brings to her business are of the best quality.

The boutique offers not only an opportunity to stumble upon something completely unique and beautiful, but also a soothing, meditative atmosphere. As soon as you enter, you are greeted with a pleasant aroma of incense, soft music and friendly service. The store is a great escape for any college student who needs a break from the stresses of everyday life.

Saffan is an avid supporter of local family-owned businesses in Geneseo and her shop is a great addition to the small town atmosphere. The next time you find yourself feeling “lost like an alley cat,” wander down Main Street and venture up Center Street to check out Alley Cat Boutique.