Designer for Hire

Pleased to Meet You

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Patricia Katchur, owner of Yikes toy store, on life’s fleeting pleasures, and why you don’t want to get on her wrong side. Cover photo courtesy of Valerie Galloway.

Patricia Katchur Photo by Gillian Drummond

Are you an early bird or a night owl? “A night owl. I savor dusk into darkness and I resist going to sleep every night. But the strange thing is I love sleeping. I go to bed at 12.30am or 1, and if I don’t have work the next day I’m up till 2am. I always try to be a morning person but I hate waking up. I always set my alarm for 7am and I hit snooze till 8am.”

Favorite accessory? “My Canon 5D digital camera. I want to capture the world’s moments. Every moment will never be repeated.  If there’s a beautiful light and cloud in the sky [and I don’t photograph it] I feel like I’ve lost a moment. It’s all the small fleeting pleasures in life that interest me most.

“I studied art history and photography in college and I ran a photo lab in New York City between 1993 and 2006. At one point I had 30 employees. I kind of burned out. I haven’t been in a darkroom since New York.

“My other favorite accessory is my iPhone.  I like the fact that you’re pretty invisible with it. I take a lot of pictures with that and then I go into Photoshop and do things with them.”

Yikes! owner Patricia Katchur wants to keep it just as it is.
Photo by Gillian Drummond.

Favorite faux pas? “I do a lot of crazy things. It’s like ‘What was I thinking?’ I ran over a friend once with my car. I was backing out of a driveway and she happened to be in the driveway. She was possibly sitting down. She wasn’t hurt but she had treadmarks on her legs and a big clump of her hair fell out from the shock of it.”

Dream customer? “It would have to be a combination of Pee-wee Herman and [artist and writer] Edward Gorey. Pee-wee is kooky-happy. Gorey’s stuff is really dark but really funny and it’s very British humor which I’ve always related to. I think they would be very happy shopping at Yikes.”

If I weren’t a toy store owner I would... “I’d love to be a socialite because I’m not. That way I could lunch with friends. Food is my way of socializing. And I could philanthropize, if that’s a word. I could do things like the development of the Sunshine Mile, the stretch of road here from Country Club to Euclid.

“If I had the money I would put it into helping that, and into the mid-century modern buildings. To me it’s community and it’s part of  my town. I’d also promote education and science and art and environmental causes.”

If I could change one thing I would… “Make the world a happy place with just a little bit of bittersweetness. People have the capacity to be happy on many levels and they choose not to. But I think we need a little bittersweet too.

“I’ve always worked in customer service and jobs where I’m dealing with people. I like pleasing people, unless they rub me the wrong way and then I will do everything not to please them. Yikes is selling happiness. To me it’s a pop culture toy store. It’s toys for all ages. If they can’t crack a smile at one thing in here, something is wrong.

Photo by Jeff Smith Photographer,

Yikes in the Broadway Village shopping center was one of Patty’s favorite stores when she lived in Tucson in the 1980s and early 1990s. When she returned here in 2006 she got a job there. When the owner decided to sell, Patty bought it with the help of an investor friend. She says it’s her aim not to change it but to grow it. She has added an art department, more books and more science products. For more visit

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