As customers grow, so does Hoss Cat

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 10, 2003

If "Size Does Matter," as its motto claims, then Hoss Cat Clothing is about to "matter" a lot more.

Store owner Donnie Townsend is excited about the 2,000 square foot expansion that will allow him to offer medical scrubs and create a feature store for his Carharrt clothing.

Townsend is working with William Trembley, owner of Ironton Hills Shopping Center, on the approximately $10,000 project that will bring his total space up to 5,200 square feet to accommodate the new merchandise.

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"Since the day I opened my doors customers have been asking me to sell scrubs," he said. "It is simple supply and demand. Medical scrubs are the most worn uniform in the Tri-State."

Although unwilling to name the company out of New Jersey that will custom design the scrubs for him, Townsend said he literally "tripped and fell over the right person on an airplane."

Customers can mix and match the sizes and styles so they will as comfortable as possible, he said. Plain draw string sets will cost $19.99 and banded print sets will cost $29.99. His first shipment should be arriving anytime, but he already has samples available.

Despite the interest he has seen, he said he is still taking some risk because he buys everything in volume.

"I am gambling, but if you do not gamble, you cannot win or lose," he said. "I had more than 100 calls about the scrubs the day after the ad ran."

The remodeling began Jan. 20 and should be completed by Feb. 15 or sooner, he said. A crew of four men, full-time employees of Trembley, are doing the majority of the work and Rosco Builders of Franklin Furnace will do some painting and other renovations.

In addition to adding more sales space, he will also expand the dressing rooms, add more storage area and office space.

Although not a huge increase in jobs immediately, Townsend will be adding one full-time employee for outside sales and hopes to hire at least two part-time workers as well.

"I believe in Lawrence County, and that is why I am willing to continue to invest and expand here," Townsend said. "While everyone else downsizes, Hoss Cat grows."

He is so excited about the future of his business that he renewed his lease, which would have expired in October, for another three years.

Not content with this recent expansion, Townsend plans to open a satellite store in Gallipolis. and a full store in Teays Valley, W. Va., sometime in 2003.

Townsend said his business continues to grow because he has made good use of his Web site

and his mobile store, the Hoss Cat Express.

"I am a full-facet business because I am getting the full spectrum of customers," he said. "I am not depending on someone to come through my doors to pay my bills."