I wrote about Emily McCall and her vision for the Stay & Play Snack Cafe back in July.
That's when McCall was leading a campaign on the fundraising site Kickstarter.com to raise $17,000 for the cafe, a place where kids can have fun playing with toys and parents can actually relax with a cup of coffee.
McCall's efforts were a success. The campaign raised more than the $17,000 she needed to get started. It's been a busy six weeks for the Durham mom of two as she scouts a downtown Durham location and begins selecting toys, furniture and other pieces for the business. (First big purchase, tired parents will be glad to know: An espresso machine).
I caught up with McCall at her Durham home the other week to learn more about the cafe and how things are going. She's planning for an early November opening.
"It's just a giant to-do list," McCall tells me.
McCall, a former nurse turned stay-at-home mom, has been tossing the idea around for about a year now. Her concept for the cafe isn't a new one. You'll find similar cafes, which cater to both kids and parents, around the country.
Here's how it will work: For a small daily fee, kids and parents can spend as much time at the cafe as they'd like. There will be toys such as a train table and dollhouse for children and comfortable seating for parents. The space is small enough so parents can keep an eye on their kids while they enjoy a coffee or conversation with friends.
McCall expects to set the entry fee at somewhere between $3 and $5 per day for kids. There will be no charge for parents. She'll have memberships for families who plan to spend more time at the cafe, which will be open Monday through Saturday.
"I want people to feel like they don't have to buy coffee or anything to eat or drink," she said of the fee. "If they want to come and just be, that's perfectly fine."
She hopes to set up a calendar of regular programming, such storytimes, mommy and me yoga and music classes, for instance. The menu will include snack items, such as raisins and Goldfish crackers served in muffin trays, along with muffins, cupcakes and other treats.
But first, she needs to settle on the location. She is in talks now about a spot.
McCall said she wasn't surprised that, once people found out about her plans, they supported it on Kickstarter. The campaign led to funding for the business, but also a group of people who are eager for the opening and following the progress.
"We built a great community of supporters who are really excited about the place," she tells me.
Watch my video interview with McCall for more.
I'll keep you posted on the progress. Follow the Stay & Play Cafe on Facebook for the latest.
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