The Good Luck Cat Cafe has come upon some good luck.
Displaced from its home in Wilton Manors when Boomerangs Thrift Store closed on May 11, the popular cat adoption center has reopened for business in nearby Fort Lauderdale.
The kitty cat adoption boutique has begun sharing space with Meowingtons, an online company that sells cat novelties, at 901 Progresso Drive, suite #202.
“I’m ecstatic about their move into the Meowingtons office. Our company mission of helping cats in need aligns with theirs, and I think with our new partnership, together we can make a great impact,” said Emma Bassiri, Meowingtons founder and CEO. “I think it’s amazing what the Good Luck Cat Cafe does day in and day out to help the cats get adopted into good homes.”
High rents, short-term leases, parking problems and construction proved to be a death knell for one of the most popular thrift stores in Wilton Manors. The adoption center was forced to move after the building owner raised the rent at 2365 Wilton Drive. Now the once-busy store, which opened in 2011 and developed a loyal following, sits empty.
The cat adoption center held a soft opening at its new digs on May 20. The Grand Opening will be from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, June 2.
“We have paid our rent so we are good,” said volunteer Laura Summers, a Wilton Manors resident who runs the adoption center and coordinates 30 volunteers who keep the doors open. “We are still fundraising because Boomerangs used to donate $40,000 a year to the rescue. It costs a lot to vet these cats - to pay to have them spayed, pay to have them see the vet, pay to have them treated for illnesses.”
A GoFundMe page raised more than $13,500 for the cat adoption center’s new home. The volunteer-run non-profit has found forever homes for 191 cats and kittens since it first opened in June 2016. Lady Luck Animal Rescue provides the cats that are available for adoption.
Matt LaMariana, president of the Animal Rescue Fund, which operated Boomerangs, is the reason the adoption center existed.
LaMariana donated more than $500,000 to rescue groups over the years to give homeless animals a second chance using money raised by the thrift store he operated. He also provided the 18-foot by 18-foot room that housed the Good Luck Cat Cafe so Good Karma and Lady Luck had a venue for adoptions.
LaMariana had planned to re-open his store in Oakland Park but was blocked by a zoning issue, he said. More than a dozen employees lost their jobs when the store closed its doors.
“I can’t wait to leave Wilton Manors and Oakland Park behind,” LaMariana said shortly before he closed up shop. He is moving to Orlando where he plans to re-open a new Boomerangs and start over.
The location inside Boomerangs was especially attractive because thrift store shoppers would visit the Good Luck Cat Cafe when they spotted the entrance while browsing for treasures. Others found the Cat Cafe online and sought it out. The thrift store and the cat adoption center benefited from each other’s presence.
Tony LoGrande, chairman of the Wilton Drive Improvement District and a retail branding strategist, has said in the past that stores like Boomerangs did not belong on main thoroughfares.
“We are sorry to see a business close on the Drive, however charity shops are traditionally … on fringe locations, not on main streets,” LoGrande said back in February. “I think this has to do with any main street type area that is attracting higher rents and more complicated terms of business - including less parking because it’s a walkable district. Those don’t usually appeal to transitional businesses such as a charity shop.”
WHAT: Good Luck Cat Cafe
WHERE: 901 Progresso Drive, suite #202, Fort Lauderdale
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday through Saturday
COST: Free but donations are accepted