Mothers Day is just around the corner, and you are looking for something truly unique! You owe it to yourself, and to Mom, to visit The Katbird Shop, in downtown Schenectady, on Liberty Street, between Jay and Broadway. Before you even walk through the front door, you will be impressed with the quaint building and its blue-and-yellow awnings, the house that Chester Arthur, the 21st president, is said to have lived in when he attended Union College.
Kathy Fitzmaurice, proprietor, has created an amazing boutique where she sells an array of “both fine and functional art and crafts” produced by over 60 artisans; most are American and many are local. Every time you go into the shop, you will see something new and beautiful, from greeting cards to photography and paintings, embroidered and quilted wall hangings to cloth bags, scarves, jewelry, pottery; the list is endless! These are items that you will not find at the mall, and Mom will be so grateful to receive anything you purchase here.
But, wait! There is more! The back rooms and basement at the Katbird are devoted to “antiques, collectibles, junk, and treasures!” Again, there is a vast array of items, including vintage photography and cameras, dishes, glasses, clothing, hats, and children’s toys.
Kathy opened the shop in December of 2005, when her parents lured her back to Schenectady from Chicago. She’d always wanted to own a gift shop and was excited by the revitalization happening in her hometown. “Katbird” was a childhood nickname and a play on the phrase “sitting in the catbird seat,” being in an enviable position. You can sense that Kathy is a well-respected and admired businesswoman; local “celebrities” can often be seen in her shop: Bill Buell, of The Gazette; and Vince Riggi, newly elected Schenectady Councilman.
But wait! There is STILL more! Kathy’s love of animals, especially cats, of course, is obvious in her tireless volunteer work with the Animal Protective Foundation in Scotia. Her cats, (all “rescue cats”), Sparky, Roger, and Ophelia, have at various times, helped her out in the store, welcoming customers and “providing some entertainment.” Kathy is an Honorary Chair for the upcoming Tails By Twilight, an APF fundraiser dinner at the Glen Sanders Mansion on May 17th. Many of the local artisans at the shop have donated items for the silent auction at that event. (www.animalprotective.org) If you can’t get to the dinner, you can always make donations to APF in the store or purchase a “Roger Fur Mayor” magnet, the proceeds of which go to the shelter.
The Katbird Shop is open Tuesday- Friday, 10-6; and Saturday, 10-5. There are several parking lots just across the street, on Liberty and on Broadway, free for the first 2 hours. Pinhead Susan’s is right down the block, and of course, there’s the rest of downtown Schenectady within walking distance: Proctors Theatre, Ambition Cafe, The Happy Cappuccino, The Open Door Bookstore, Bowtie Cinema, and the GreenMarket is now outdoors right on Jay Street. Take Mom out for brunch at The Stockade Inn and then stroll on down to Katbird and let her pick out something special. The shop will be open on Mothers Day, 11-2. Gift certificates are also available.