Established in 1968 by owner Mary Matson, the Calico Cat gift store has had many incarnations. From an upscale hippie boutique, record store, waterbed store, to a unique shop with unexpected individual items. "In the beginning it was known as a 'head shop' and it was among the first in the Midwest. Naturally, it was intimidating and provocative to some people," stated Jay Matson (one of the two original owners). "Of course, just burning incense in a store was weird and highly suspicious," he recalls. Over the years, the Calico Cat proved to be the place to go to find hand-picked gift items, great customer service, and the pleasure of shopping at a small owner-run business.