In Caldwell, two women have joined forces to help the town. Kathy Risley and Ann Schuster formed a little company called Kate and Annies – now you’ll see the results in just a moment, but what is even more remarkable, is that when these women first met, they knew they would NOT be friends.
“Pretty sure we weren’t. We made up our minds we weren’t going to like each other that’s for sure.”
Caldwell, Kansas is a small historic community on the Chisholm Trail. It was a gathering point for the Cherokee Strip Land Rush and a shipping point for Texas Longhorn cattle.
“But we are driven, we are driven.”
Ann Schuster and Kathy Risley are two unlikely friends. Kathy is native to Caldwell and steeped in its rich history and tradition. Ann Schuster is the outsider, from Cleveland, who decided this was the place she and her husband would retire.
“And her interest in small towns was amazing. Because I had my back up because I thought she would make fun of our small town, but she loved it and fit right in.”
“I feel very welcome and at home and comfortable here and I think I smile more here. By the time I get to town I’m smiling.”
So a friendship that would help change the town was born. Ann & Kathy bought stuff – like buildings. Rebuilt them and This is one of them.
“This house is Elsa Mae’s, we name it after the lady who lived here before we bought it. It was a boarding house for railroaders that came through. They served meals here and boarded people here so the rooms are without closets, so it is perfect for what we needed it for.”
“Now we are in the oldest building in Caldwell, this is the original Opera House from 1872. They held operas upstairs and this building was gone, this building was totally gone, there was nothing left.”
“This was our first project, we did the drapes together. It was our first shopping spree together and I think that’s when we first learned, we can do this because we both like the same things instantly.”
“This is the old Messenger Newspaper building that we have saved, gutted and renovated. We found newspapers dating back to the 1800’s. And we have saved the old printing press.”
Upstairs, along side the names of all the Caldwell Newspaper names – two attractive rooms that constitute a hotel.
“Why not have a place for people to stay.”
Then they started on another downtown office building with offices downstairs and an apartment.
“This is an apartment on the second floor over an office building that was in very raw condition. Lovely bathroom, bedroom, and it is available to rent.
Also know that Ann could live anywhere…her husband is CEO of Wichita’s Hawker Beechcraft, but they have chosen Caldwell as the place to retire, so investing in the town makes sense for Ann.
“Once you started it you have to finish it.”
“We made a difference, we made a difference.”