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Q&A with Autumn Ruhe, Owner of Mildred & Dildred

Q: Where were you born?

Sioux Falls, South Dakota. My dad was in residency at a hospital there. I was born in December, and from what I hear, it was pretty unbearably cold. We moved to Tucson when I was around three.

Q: How did you become interested in your career field?

I graduated from college with an art history degree and had no idea what I was going to do. I got a job at Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle’s, and for the first time, things started to click for me. I wasn’t a great sales person but I realized I was pretty OK at merchandising. And I liked being in an environment where I was allowed/ encouraged to be goofy.

Q: What is the biggest challenge of your job?

Our store is really small, so editing orders is one of the toughest parts. I’ll want to get an entire line of big squishy stuffed animals, but we only have so much room. It can be hard picking which ones I think customers will love, over which ones I love. It takes a bit of self restraint!

Q: What is the greatest reward of your job?

We’ve been around long enough that now middle schoolers will come into the shop and say, “I used to come here when I was little!” It feels really great to know that we’ve built something that is a part of someone’s story, even if it’s just a tiny part.

Q: Do you have any family members in Tucson?

Yes, my parents live here, which is great. Free babysitting!

Q: What was the last book you read, and what did you enjoy the most about it?

I recently reread The Devil’s Teeth by Susan Casey. It’s a true story of a journalist who goes to work with the scientists who track great white sharks around the Farallon Islands. They tolerate really miserable conditions to be close to sharks; their passion is inspiring.

Q: When you have the time, what is your favorite TV show to binge watch?

My son is four years old, so I’m way behind on good TV shows. After he goes to bed, I usually choose sleep over TV. But the last one I couldn’t stop watching was The Haunting of Hill House (I love ghost stories).

Q: In 20 words or less, describe your perfect day.

Listening to a spooky podcast and eating macaroni and cheese while doing a puzzle. TL

Editor’s note: At press time online ordering and delivery were available through

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