The purr-fect fundraiser for the Berkshire Humane Society

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Photo Gallery | Catwalk, Berkshire Humane Society's Resale Boutique

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A trio of animal lovers, in conjunction with the Berkshire Humane Society, have opened an upscale women's boutique, called Catwalk, to help raise money for the organization.

"Nonprofits are always struggling," said John Perrault, the executive director of the Berkshire Humane Society. "They're always looking for a consistent revenue stream. That's basically what we have here."

The three women -- Mimi Rosenblatt and Marsha Weiner, both of Great Barrington, and Leslie Weil of Stockbridge -- all are animal aficionados and all have volunteered with BHS.

All, in fact, have at least two rescue animals.

The Humane Society's annual budget is about $1.2 million, Perrault said. The organization itself, gets no state or federal aid, Weil noted: the three revenue streams that fund the group come from private donors, gala events and adoption fees.

It is, Perrault acknowledged, an annual struggle.

Catwalk, on 325 Stockbridge Road, is located in the business complex just behind Aegean Breeze. It opened on Memorial Day weekend.

Rosenblatt emphasized that the BHS will still have galas, still accept donations and still generate revenue through fees. But Catwalk, she pointed out, will hopefully generate a more consistent revenue stream throughout the year.

The clothing is donated, which, on the whole, eliminates a lot of the overhead, Rosenblatt said.

But all three women emphasized that Catwalk is an upscale clothing store. It is most definitely not a thrift store or a Goodwill outlet, Weiner said.

The store has accepted clothing from throughout Berkshire County as well as Texas, Florida, New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Miss Hall's School in Pittsfield and Berkshire School in Sheffield both have organized clothing drives. Michael's, an ultra-hip New York City consignment shop, has donated a number of designer items.

Local fashion guru Vickie Bonnington has become a major donor, and Lisa Betkoski, a marketing specialist, personal shopper and stylist, is on staff as a style consultant. Betkoski also is the editor and publisher of Animal Life Publications in Pittsfield.

So far, Weiner said, the boutique has been a "rousing success."

Weil said she believed the success of the store is because of the support of local animal lovers.

"They understand that supporting us helps support the Humane Society," she said.

To reach Derek Gentile:
dgentile@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6251.
On Twitter: @DerekGentile


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