Paper Moon cat’s birthday celebration sparks community-wide event

Mitchum’s birthday celebration on Saturday, March 8, has sparked a community-wide event highlighting some of the things near and dear to local business owners’ hearts. (Photo by Audrey Posten)

By the Spoonful sells these signs for the home that were handmade by individuals with disabilities from G&G Living Centers. (Photo by Audrey Posten)


By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor


On Saturday, March 8, Paper Moon, located at 206 A St., in McGregor, will celebrate resident cat Mitchum’s 16th birthday. Mitchum’s big day has been celebrated annually by Paper Moon’s mother-daughter duo, Louise and Jennifer White, in an effort to raise funds and pet food for the Crawford Area Shelter for Animals (CASA) and Rivers and Bluffs Animal Shelter.


By making a donation or bringing in some dog or cat food, visitors can enjoy a 10 percent discount at the store. Special cupcakes will also be available.


Known for his black and white fur and the distinctive black spot on his nose, Mitchum’s likeness has graced some of the Paper Moon’s merchandise—everything from t-shirts to post cards. He can usually be found presiding over the store in his throne, near the check-out counter, making it nearly impossible for visitors to resist giving him a pet or two. On his birthday, he has even received cards and been serenaded with “Happy Birthday.”


Started over 10 years ago as a joke, on a whim, the event has grown into more than just a birthday celebration, but rather a community celebration. This year, the Whites thought it would be good to highlight some of the things other local businesses do for the community.


“Businesses are not just here. They do more in the community than make money,” said Louise. “Owners are real people with things near and dear to them that they try to take care of.”


Out of this idea, “local businesses working together to make our community a better place” was born.


By the Spoonful (221 Main St., McGregor) owner Katie Ruff will participate, offering signs for the home that were handmade by individuals with disabilities from G&G Living Centers, which has locations in Guttenberg, Garnavillo and Edgewood. Located high on the wall, to the right of the store’s doorway as you enter, the signs feature a variety of quips and heartwarming sentiments that will liven up any home.


By patronizing By the Spoonful, it’s important to note that you are supporting more than one local business. Katie also features a variety of local and regional products in her store.


Old Man River Restaurant and Brewery, located at 123 A St., in McGregor, is also getting into the spirit. Manager Allison Dayrit-Roberts said she and wife Angelica will offer patrons either a Mitchum sandwich or Mitchum burger. They’re also considering donating some pet toys so that patrons can enjoy the Paper Moon discount on their behalf.


Allison said it’s also important to her and Angelica that Old Man River is a welcoming environment for patrons and workers of all kinds.


“All are appreciated,” said Allison, mentioning that employment is open to veterans, seniors, youth and both physically disabled and developmentally delayed individuals. “There is no discrimination. Our doors are always open to those who want to learn.”


Aside from an inclusive work environment, Old Man River also participates in the Farm to School program and offers a variety of locally-produced foods and services.

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