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An Artful Invitation

Updated: Aug 26, 2019

The bell sounds as you enter.

That’s her cue.

Whether popping her head from out behind the register or busy moving pieces around on the floor, she doesn’t miss a beat in welcoming the customers to Stray Cat Studio.

She’s none other than Janine Book, Stray Cat Studio’s Handmade Market Manager.

Janine may not call herself an artist, but we beg to differ. Her talent for visual placement of handmade artisan pieces highlights their unique beauty for customers to enjoy. Perhaps she’s not creating pottery or crafting pieces of jewelry, but the shop is indeed her palette serving as an inspirational introduction to the studio and the artisans work on display.

Which is quite fitting.

For, as Janine puts it when she herself walked into Stray Cat for the first time, “It had me at ‘hello’ or at jewelry, and pottery, and art of all sorts!”

Once a Tiger, always a Tiger

It was a perfect match. And she wants customers to experience the same “feels”.

“I want our customers to have an artful experience and pick up that special handmade gift,” shares Janine, who genuinely appreciates those who venture into Stray Cat to do so, thus supporting a small, local business in the process.

This is important to her, as Janine started out as a Tiger, growing up right here in downtown Beaver Falls.

Her path to Stray Cat lead her down several professional roads, eventually landing in managerial level positions in junior and women’s apparel.

Cutting her teeth on staff development

It was at these companies that Janine developed her skill for building motivated teams, focusing on them so they, in turn, could better focus on the customer. She found much satisfaction traveling and training managers in operations and visual standards while watching them grow their teams and stores.

And we are so glad she did!

For it was partially this skillset that prepared Janine for her new responsibility in creating a training and development program for our own staff at Stray Cat Studio.

An artful invitation

“I like to think of this as a little space with a big punch!”

And indeed, Janine has helped Stray Cat studio become just that by creating a visual experience for everyone who walks through the door, one that invites them to tap their own creativity while simply wandering the shop and exploring the variety of pieces.

How will this change once the Portobello opens - providing Janine with an even bigger canvas to “paint” via her knack for merchandising?

“Just thinking about space makes me go AHHH!!!! With this building, we will be able to expose and share this artful experience with more people.”

Stray Cat currently offers pieces from close to 100 independent artisans in the Western, PA area which are all carefully recruited for the handmade market.

“We hand select each of our artists and try to find the things that fit best with our aesthetic and what we think our customers will find appealing,” shares Renee Suhr, Owner of Stray Cat Studio.

And much to Janine’s joy, an increase in retail space at the Portobello will mean additional artisans can be selected for the handmade market.

As Stray Cat Studio undergoes this transformation into the Portobello building, Beaver Falls is also experiencing a transformation, or renaissance, if you will. Janine is excited to introduce customers to a brand new space, within a growing and thriving Beaver Falls.

So take a stroll, venture in and ring the bell.

Janine will be right there ready to walk you through an artful experience of your own!

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