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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Hello Kitty Cafe truck brings whimsy to downtown Spokane during tour stop Saturday

Aug. 13, 2022 Updated Sat., Aug. 13, 2022 at 8:05 p.m.

Abbey Rode, left, and her daughter, Nikki Rode, came to River Park Square Saturday to buy Hello Kitty merchandise together.  (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)
Abbey Rode, left, and her daughter, Nikki Rode, came to River Park Square Saturday to buy Hello Kitty merchandise together. (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)
By Jase Picanso and Carly Dykes The Spokesman-Review

Hundreds of Hello Kitty fans lined Main Avenue in the heart of downtown Spokane Saturday to have a turn at the timeless cartoon cat’s cafe on wheels.

The portable retail experience visits over 100 cities annually across the United States and has visited Spokane for the past five years.

Abbey Rode waited in the nearly two-block-long line alongside her daughter, Nikki Rode, in hopes of getting the specialty Hello Kitty merchandise sold exclusively through the mobile store.

People line up down the block from River Park Square wrapped around Main Avenue.  (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)
People line up down the block from River Park Square wrapped around Main Avenue. (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)

Rode has been a fan of Hello Kitty since the 1970’s, and the cafe on wheels rolling into Spokane again was both nostalgic and exciting for her.

“I used to go to the Hello Kitty café in LA all the time,” Rode said, “so, hey, it’s in Spokane – we got to come out and get all the Hello Kitty goods for ourselves!”

Abbey Rode, left, is pictured showing off her Hello Kitty T-shirt and tattoo while holding the merchandise she bought from Hello Kitty Café Saturday. Her daughter Nikki stands next to her with purchases of her own.   (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)
Abbey Rode, left, is pictured showing off her Hello Kitty T-shirt and tattoo while holding the merchandise she bought from Hello Kitty Café Saturday. Her daughter Nikki stands next to her with purchases of her own.  (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)

Fans of the character produced by Japanese company Sanrio had a variety of items to purchase from the “menu.” Non-edible treats such as plush toys, mugs, coin banks, lunchboxes, T-shirts, canvas totes, thermoses and face masks were on sale, while the truck lived up to its cafe label by selling pre-packaged mini cakes, macarons and giant cookies.

Taylor Berry, one of the workers at the truck, revealed that lines are expected to be anywhere from two to three hours, and that it is not uncommon for the truck to sell out of many specialty items.

Hundreds of Hello Kitty fans line Spokane's Main Avenue Saturday morning to buy specialty Hello Kitty items.  (Carly Dykes/The Spokesman-Review)
Hundreds of Hello Kitty fans line Spokane’s Main Avenue Saturday morning to buy specialty Hello Kitty items. (Carly Dykes/The Spokesman-Review)

“We will definitely get down to about maybe three to five items at the end of the day, so a good chunk of our stuff will sell out, but we usually will stay the entire day,” Berry said.

Kenni Erickson and Jemma Mae, who also chose to face the seemingly never-ending line, agreed the wait was worth it.

Kenni Erickson, left, and Jemma Mae pose in front of the Hello Kitty Café.  (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)
Kenni Erickson, left, and Jemma Mae pose in front of the Hello Kitty Café. (Jase Picanso/The Spokesman-Review)

“This is my first time actually ever going. So I think it’s definitely worth the wait for me, and I’m obsessed with Hello Kitty and have been collecting it for years, and this stuff here you can’t get anywhere else,” Mae said.

“We were here at 9 o’clock (an hour before the event started), and the line was already halfway down the block,” Mae added.

By 3 p.m., the cafe had sold out of all stuffed animals and most T-shirts.

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