Materials to make catnip toys line shelves in the manufacturing area at Pussums Cat Co. in Turner. Pussums Cat Company

Forty years of cats and catnip in Turner. The Pussums Cat Company is marking its anniversary in a big way, creating a giant — can you say “world’s largest” — catnip kicker at 72 inches high and 50 inches in girth.

Pussums Cat Company in Turner made “the world s largest” catnip kicker for its 40th anniversary. Pussums Cat Co. photo

For the uninitiated, catnip-loving cats come in two categories; the lickers and lovers, and the kickers and chasers. The kickers grab the catnip-filled pillows and rabbit kick them with their back paws (one method of kicking).

OK, so why all the fuss about catnip? Because it’s big business for the Turner-based wholesaler and retailer. Owner Susan Shaw tells The Buzz she goes through 8,000 to 10,000 pounds of catnip every year. She has 20 independent contractors, three full-time and three part-time employees who stitch together and stuff the catnip toys, cat mats and beds, pack them up and ship them to more than 300 wholesale customers in 32 states.

Yes, there are hand-picked guard cats inside the facility. The three felines are hospice kitties chosen because they don’t like catnip, which is true for one in five cats, according to Shaw. Imagine the mayhem in a catnip warehouse if they did?

People can catch the oversized catnip kicker on tour through mid-August in various cities, where they can get their picture taken with the big kicker and pick up a sample of Dr. Pussums catnip, or stop by the Turner store at 293 Auburn Road.

Contractors are making progress Wednesday on the groundwork for the Olive Garden restaurant, bottom right on Turner Street in Auburn. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

DIGGING THE OLIVE GARDEN

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The gates are up and the dozers are digging at the site of the future Olive Garden restaurant at 649 Turner St. in Auburn. Demolition of the former Ruby Tuesday restaurant was completed in early April and foundation work is underway.

Darden Restaurants, the parent company of Olive Garden, plans to build a 6,600-square-foot restaurant with an as-of-yet undetermined opening date in early 2023. The chain has locations in Augusta, South Portland and Bangor.

HOUSING SALES DECLINE IN MAINE

Maine is beginning to feel the pinch on the housing market from higher mortgage interest rates and inflation.

Sales of single-family homes declined 9.83% last month, according to Maine Listings.

“We are beginning to see homes staying on the market for weeks instead of days, price adjustments, and fewer buyers competing for new for-sale listings as rising mortgage interest rates have cooled some segments of buyer demand,” Madeleine Hill, president of the Maine Association of Realtors, said.

Inventory of single-family properties remains historically low, Hill added, with 1.8 months of supply available for sale. A six-month supply is considered a balanced market.

The statewide median sales price hit $360,825 in June 2022, up 16.4% compared to June 2021. The median sales price indicates that half of the homes were sold for more and half sold for less.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Christopher Wheelock at 689-2844 or [email protected]


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