Meet another West Seattle “shop cat”: Swifty on Roxbury

So far in our series profiling “shop cats” who are fixtures at local businesses, you’ve met Seth at West Seattle Nursery (story here) and Presta and Schrader at Aaron’s Bicycle Repair (story here). Today we head to the southernmost edge of West Seattle for our next “Shop Cat”: Swifty, “the cat who purrs like an engine.”

By Keri DeTore
Reporting for West Seattle Blog

Introducing Swifty — whose name exemplifies irony.

Swifty spent 9/10ths of our interview in her big, soft bed on the counter at Roxbury Complete Auto Supply (map). When co-owner Bill Crawford finally picked her up and placed her at the other end of the store, she meandered the aisles for a bit, then went right back to her big, soft bed on the counter.

Who can blame her?

For the past ten years after literally showing up on their doorstep, Swifty has been overseeing the business at the auto supply store by mousing, chasing off encroaching cats, and teasing dogs. Co-owners Bill and Kathy Crawford describe one of Swifty’s games — racing through the aisles with a dog following behind, then turning to whap the dog on the nose. Says Bill, “We occasionally hear a yelp from somewhere in the store.”

Like many of her human brethren in the auto industry, Swifty’s got some grime under her nails — and on her legs, and in her fur. Bill explains: “No matter how much we brush and clean her, she just goes and scratches her back on the underside of a car.”

Seems appropriate for a cat who lives her life around auto parts; and though she does go outside, she’s extremely car-savvy and stays close to the building.

Swifty has her own visitors, both the kid and the dog variety. One youngster became so enamored with her that he cried when he realized he couldn’t take her home. When Bill Crawford’s father comes to visit, he brings his Chihuahua, who crawls in and shares Swifty’s bed. Clearly, she has learned that she can garner lots of attention without having to work too hard for it.

Like other felines, she knows exactly which customers aren’t cat fans — and heads straight for them. Bill and Kathy describe one particular customer who “hates cats”—as he’s at the counter paying for his items, Swifty comes right over to him, rubs against him, purrs, and he finds himself forced into petting her.

Besides her customer-retention program, Swifty helps with data entry; while a receipt is being typed up on the computer, Swifty runs across the keyboard. So if instead of a “Fan Belt” you bought a “Fan Bljsdi9p[“ — now you know why.

We’ve got a few more “Shop Cats” to come. (Plus another reader-contributed “Shop Dog” too – following in the pawprints of Baron at Redline Music and Sports, featured here last week.)

13 Replies to "Meet another West Seattle "shop cat": Swifty on Roxbury"

  • Teri April 12, 2009 (10:55 am)

    TR and Patrick,

    Thanks for starting story series! These animals are so happy and I will certainly think of these businesses when in need of products they carry.

    Also…if any businesses out there are interested in having a shop cat or dog, please contact us and we will help you find the purrfect shop companion. Due to the economic conditions, a lot of companion animals are being surrendered to shelters–you may be able to offer them an outstanding home. Cheers, F3

  • Bonnie April 12, 2009 (11:05 am)

    I remember there used to be a shop cat at the Art and Frame shop. He was so sweet…

  • lina April 12, 2009 (11:50 am)

    i love this cat! she is so cute and the employees of this shop have been really helpful and nice when i have gone in clueless looking for random parts.

  • B-squared April 12, 2009 (1:45 pm)

    wow, i hope i need some autoparts soon so i can visit swifty! Thanks for this series, WSB! looking forward to more….

  • bridge to somewhere April 12, 2009 (2:55 pm)

    besides the cat, the folks at roxbury auto parts are extremely, extremely nice. ;-) my wife and i go in there for replacement windshield wipers — as a result, we’ve never installed them ourselves! the guys that work there always insist on installing them for us and disposing of the old ones. really nice people.

  • Tom April 12, 2009 (9:45 pm)

    Yes! Hooray for Roxbury, an independent parts store in a tough competitive market. The employees are knowledgeable which is frequently not the case when I visit a chain parts place. Also Swifty was super tolerant of my 7 year old daughter’s attention.

  • west seattle golfer April 12, 2009 (9:56 pm)

    A bit of a tangent…

    At the start of the rainy season I noticed I needed a replacement part for one of my wiper blade arms. The part is a little metal dowel looking thing, and it had worn down enough that the blade would work itself off the arm.

    I tried 3 different auto part stores, all of whom insisted I needed to replace the entire wiper arm to fix the problem. My last stop was at Roxbury Complete Auto Supply – this was late in the day on Sunday IIRC – and the guy there listened to what I was looking for and found the exact part in a few minutes. The best part was it cost just a couple of dollars!

    They have since received all my auto parts dollars :)

  • celeste17 April 12, 2009 (11:37 pm)

    Been going there for years. Last purchase was a battery. They carried it out to the car and the next day when I pulled up someone came out before I even got into the store to pick up the used battery from my car.

  • KatherineL April 13, 2009 (9:36 am)

    Thanks for all the comments on the excellent service Swifty’s people provide. I’ve been wondering where to go for auto parts now.

  • JEM April 13, 2009 (11:20 am)

    I can’t believe I’ve never noticed Swifty, as this is my favorite auto-parts store. I must be too fixated on transmission fluid when I go in there!

  • Joe April 13, 2009 (2:23 pm)

    All the employees at Roxbury Complete Auto Supply are great and Swifty adds a lot to the casual friendly feel of the store. He always appreciates a good head scratch and helps make a visit to the store a pleasurable experience.

  • blondie April 14, 2009 (9:01 am)

    Roxbury Auto has been keeping our cars running for the last fifteen years – a place where you still receive customer service! They even install wiper blades in pouring rain.

  • Heidi April 21, 2009 (12:38 pm)

    Happy Birthday to Kathy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 50 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!Wow who would have guessed with that childish giggle!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for being so nice Bill and Kathy.

    PS: Nice Cat


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