Made by Mom Gift Guide: Cary business serves up brews for parents, play space for kids
Posted December 3, 2020 9:00 p.m. EST
Cary, N.C. — No thanks to the ongoing pandemic, the opening for Bumble Brews didn't exactly go as planned. It opened a few months later than planned. And the concept — to build a community gathering space where young children could play and their parents could enjoy a coffee, beer or glass of wine — had to pivot a bit.
But Blair Byrnside, the owner, has found a way to open a business during these challenging times and begin to build a following. Bumble Brews opened in Cary on Sept. 1, and Byrnside has big dreams to grow the business and even add locations someday.
Byrnside and her husband, both North Carolina natives, have two kids. Byrnside had worked in human resources and finance for several years, but, she says, she never had a passion for the positions. It was just something to pay the bills.
"I started thinking it was time to do something I really enjoyed," she tells me. "I had never done anything like this so it was a major leap of faith for our family. I’ve learned a lot from this experience and other local business owners were always willing to offer advice. I’ve basically Googled my way through this whole process!"
In addition to the cafe, Bumble Brews offers gift cards, craft kits and other experiences. It's part of Go Ask Mom's 2020 Made by Mom Gift Guide. Keep reading to learn more about Bumble Brews. And stay tuned for more Made by Mom features.
Go Ask Mom: What was the aha moment for Bumble Brews? What made you decide to open?
Blair Byrnside: My aha moment for Bumble Brews was just after my second baby was born. I had a very active almost three-year-old and a newborn. Life was chaos. I quickly realized that there aren’t nearly enough indoor play spaces for little ones, in particular, a space where you can sit with a newborn and watch your other active toddler play safely.
I thought, there has to be a better way … so I toyed around with the idea, researched, and made lists of all of the things we wanted to include. For instance, drop-in play on the weekends (including Sundays!), being able to bring in outside food, and a café with coffee, beer, and wine. Essentially, I wanted to create the space that I wish existed every weekend. A place where the entire family can enjoy the space together.
GAM: What all do you offer?
BB: Bumble Brews offers:
- a large open play space (approx. 1400 sq ft) with toys and equipment geared toward children 6 and under
- private and non-private play sessions
- two private party rooms
- craft kits
- coffees and teas
- pre-packaged snacks (outside food welcome)
- rotating selection of local craft beer on tap and by the can
- rotating selection of wines (we do mimosas!)
- special events such as character appearances, story time, sip and paint craft events, Mommy and Me exercise classes and more!
GAM: How has COVID reshaped your plans for the business?
BB: Opening during a pandemic certainly has had its challenges. Our original plans included non-private birthday parties, a stage with live music events, and dress up clothes in addition to what we doing now. Our plan was to get as many people in the door as possible.
Now we have divided our day into five time slots. This allows for 90-minute play sessions and 30 minutes for me to clean and sanitize everything before the next group comes in. We are also doing monthly professional disinfection treatments. We are going above and beyond right now to make sure our workers and guests feel totally safe in our space. As a mother of two small kids, I’m taking all the precautions that would make me, personally, feel safe in a public space right now. And that means limited numbers, face masks, gloves, temperature checks, frequent hand washing and SANTIZATION.
GAM: You're facing a lot of challenges, but what's been your biggest reward as a business owner so far?
BB: My biggest reward as a small business owner so far has been the reaction to my space from our guests. I love hearing the kiddos walk in and say “whoa!” I’ve had so many parents say, “How hasn’t anyone thought of this before?,” or, “This is the dream!" I’m so happy that I’ve created a space that parents and kids are both enjoying. It’s also pretty nice to be my own boss.
GAM: Going forward, what's your hope for Bumble Brews? What are your future dreams for the business?
BB: Going forward, my hope is that Bumble Brews becomes a first thought for families when the kiddos get restless or you just need to get out of the house.
I hope to become part of the community where families with young children can meet up for play dates or birthday parties. I want those parents to know there is a place where they can finish a hot coffee or have a cold draft beer and their kids are safe and entertained. We’ve been well received so far and I would love to open up additional locations.
Bumble Brews is at 2464 SW Cary Parkway, Cary.