JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) While shoppers are out tracking down this year’s top Halloween costume and decor, they might leave the Halloween Express on North Roan Street with a new, furry friend.
Inside the store are five to six not-so-creepy crawlers. Shelter cats have free range of the store while they wait for a forever home.
It is a sight that gets quite the kick out of customers.
“That is the best part they come in like, ‘Oh there’s a cat! There’s another cat!’ It kind of opens the door to say, ‘Yes we have cats and here they are up for adoption,'” says store owner Starr Beverly.
All of the cats are available to adopt through the Unicoi County Animal Shelter. They are half-priced when purchased through Halloween Express.
Beverly says she hopes to help cats that were not so lucky in the shelter find forever homes.
“It’s hard to see a cat’s personality when they are in the shelter. Here they have free range, they can jump on the counters, they can love on people, people can pick them up and carry them around the store. Next thing you know they fall in love and they are taking a cat home,” says Beverly.
This is a partnership that was welcomed by the Unicoi County shelter.
“She messaged me one day and was like ‘Hey, what do you think about putting cats in the store?’ and I was like, ‘I love it. How many do you want, how many can I bring you?'” says Kevin King, shelter director.
Last year, 12 cats were adopted out of the store. This year they have already found homes for seven, after only being open for a about three weeks.
“Some of the cats that she has gotten adopted here have sat in the shelter for 6, 7 months and no one would even look at them. Versus, they come here and you can see their personality and they get adopted in two days,” says King.
It’s something Beverly says is a win for everyone. It drives people to the animal shelter, gives cats a second chance and even brings in business to her store.
“People do come back. They’re like, ‘Oh, I’m back to see the cats today’ and they usually end up buying something while they are here,” says Beverly.
Halloween Express is located at 2102 N. Roan Street in Johnson City. Their hours are: Monday – Thursday 11 to 8; Friday & Saturday 11 to 9; Sunday 1 to 7 p.m.
The Unicoi County Animal Shelter has many more cats and dogs available for adoption at their location on 185 N. Industrial Dr. in Erwin, TN.