Black eyes, black whiskers, a yellow nose and a big red bow – it’s Hello Kitty. The iconic Japanese character was introduced to the United States in 1976.
Since her debut, Hello Kitty has been sold in various forms, whether it be plush toys, on shirts, mugs and accessories. Now, she has a cafe and a cafe truck.
The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck made its second visit to Fresno on Saturday at the Fashion Fair Mall.
The Hello Kitty-themed cafe truck sells Hello Kitty memorabilia and food items such as macaroons and cookies. The van itself is light pink and decorated with images of Hello Kitty and various treats.
Fans of the iconic kitty stood in line to purchase items and take pictures in front of the van with their purchases.The first person in line at the event in Fresno was Salina “Sunshine” Barbo.
Dressed in a Hello Kitty shirt, bow headband and accessorized in Hello Kitty items, Barbo said she arrived at midnight because she wanted to be the first person to make a purchase. The last time the truck visited Fresno, Barbo said, she was also the first person in line.
An avid Hello Kitty collector, Barbo has 971 items, not counting the day’s purchase. She has collected since she was a child.
Longtime fan and Fresno State alumna Erica Sanchez-Barber said she arrived at 5:45 a.m. to buy her memorabilia. Sanchez-Barber said she purchased $200 worth of items for herself and her daughter.
Like Barbo, Sanchez-Barber said she has been a Hello Kitty fan for as long as she could remember. She takes pride in being a Hello Kitty fan and felt saddened that she must leave behind her collection, as she is moving to Australia for work.
Brian Malony, senior manager of marketing for Fashion Fair Mall, said he always looks for interesting entertainment for the mall and shoppers.
Last fall, Malony was in contact with the the cafe truck for an appearance at the mall. After the truck’s successful appearance in March, Malony decided that the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck should pay Fashion Fair Mall another visit.