Many Geneseo students walk past Main Street on a regular basis, but what they may not have noticed is Alley Cat, a boutique located right off of Main on Center Street. Alley Cat is one of the most interesting boutiques I’ve ever been in my life. It’s filled with a variety of merchandise, including jewelry, men’s and women’s clothing, costumes and even lingerie. I could spend hours looking at all the unique merchandise. This week I was lucky enough to speak with the owner and learn the story behind Alley Cat.
Name: Connie Saffan
Role: Owner, Alley Cat
CollegeFashionista: How did Alley Cat get started in Geneseo?
Connie Saffan: It was five years ago in November. I was out of work for a year-and-a-half and I couldn’t even get interviews. At that time I was 60 years old. They started passing me up, not even calling for an interview ‘cause I look old. I was getting pretty desperate, so I finally came up with an idea; I know what I can do. I started collecting clothes and hung them in my basement. I started going to thrift stores until my basement, my living room and all the closets were filled up with stuff. Right at that time, Valerie’s Quality Consignment shop had had enough and decided to close. I thought this is perfect; I wanted it, so that’s what I did. I really had a vision for this spot once it became available and then it developed into what it is now.
CF: Where was the name Alley Cat inspired from? How did you come up with it?
CS: I opened the store and it came time to name it. I said, I think I got a name—it’s gonna be Alley Cat because that’s how I’ve been feeling, like an Alley Cat. Nobody wanted me. I was lonely. I was lost on the street. So people think “oh that’s a cute name—how’d you come up with that?” I came up with it out of pain.
CF: Where do all the clothes come from?
CS: I do both new and used. I buy closeouts, liquidations. I buy online. I go to thrift stores. This is all my collection and all picked by me. It moves fast, so it’s not a collection that stays.
CF: What is the most popular item people come here for?
CS: People come here because I have a lot of things with a vintage look. They come specifically for jewelry because even the department store jewelry that I have is at less than half the price than what it’s sold for. They love the metaphysical stuff—the rocks, the sage and all that. They come because they love my music. I play a lot of show music and things from the ‘40s and the ‘50s.
Learn More: Check out this unique boutique yourself. Visit Alley Cat located at 6 Center Street in Geneseo, New York.