“As quickly as we got here up with Beans Cat Cafe, we determined the title was so good that we needed to make this factor occur,” says Jess Cruz, who based the institution together with her accomplice, Justin Strika. The cafe permits prospects to get pleasure from drinks whereas interacting with a room filled with foster cats and kittens. “I stop my job in restaurant administration one week earlier than the COVID lockdown to make this a actuality. We didn’t have some huge cash, so we took the $10,000 saved up for the marriage we had deliberate on the time, took out a small enterprise mortgage, and used our personal financial savings.” The couple spent months at their first location in Beacon, renovating it themselves. They opened in November of 2020, and opened a second location in New Paltz in July of 2023.
Each born and raised within the Hudson Valley, the couple met when working collectively at a Speedway gasoline station in 2016. Whereas Strika had grown up with cats, Cruz’s feline-free childhood residence had impressed a eager for her personal cat. “Rising up, my mother didn’t like cats, and I might at all times beg her to get a canine or a cat,” she says. “Once I acquired my first condo, and seen my neighbor had a cat, I spotted I may get a cat. Straight away I acquired Bean, my first cat. It solely took six months after that to get one other.”
Cruz jumped on the concept when Strika proposed they open a cat cafe, an more and more widespread enterprise development that mixes a restaurant with cat remedy. The cafe fosters shelter cats, providing meals, drink, and alternative for guests to spend time with the cats, all whereas selling adoption. “We wished to turn out to be someplace the place individuals who grew up like myself with mother and father who didn’t need cats, or folks whose landlords wouldn’t enable cats, may are available and expertise even a short-term emotional bond with a cat,” she explains.
When Cruz stop her job to take motion on the cat cafe in 2020, the couple initially had their eyes set on a location in New Paltz. “It’s a really eclectic, younger, vibrant neighborhood,” says Strika. “It has that status for being attention-grabbing—bizarre in a great way.” Their tight finances, the enterprise competitors, and their requirement to carry cats into their house made it troublesome to discover a location in New Paltz that met all their wants.
It was then that the couple turned in the direction of Beacon, in search of any house to make their imaginative and prescient a actuality. “I used to be given a bit of recommendation that actually caught with me,” says Cruz. “You don’t want every little thing instantly. Get what it is advisable to begin, then you possibly can construct it up later. Once we opened in Beacon, we didn’t have all of the trash cans or furnishings that we would have liked. Simply something to get the doorways open.”
Inside the first 12 months, the cafe had made 214 adoptions from the Hudson Valley Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, which gives all cats fostered on the Cat Cafe. Throughout this time, the couple harbored a plan to increase their enterprise. “I used to be nonetheless decided to have a second location in New Paltz,” says Cruz. “On a whiteboard behind the situation in Beacon, I wrote ‘100 months.’ Once I did the maths for these 100 months, it got here out to be January 18, 2023. That was once we have been going to get critical about taking a look at leases. Once we lastly went to take a look at our spot in New Paltz, it was January twentieth.”
With just a little extra expertise and cash beneath their belt, they have been capable of finding a spot on Church Avenue in New Paltz. The second location opened on July 14, full with a restaurant room and a separate cat room. Strolling down the road in New Paltz, passersby peer into the window on the kittens sleeping on the windowsills. The cat room is a relaxed and playful surroundings, regulated by the checklist of customer guidelines defending the animals from dangerous or disrespectful therapy. The cat room, residence to round 20 foster cats at a time, is accessible to guests for half-hour ($7) or one-hour ($12.50) classes. Guests who fall in love with a cat can undertake their new pet by filling out an software with the HVAS, whose vetting course of investigates particulars reminiscent of leases and different family pets.
Most guests seize a espresso or a freshly squeezed lemonade to get pleasure from together with their cat time. With espresso from Albany-based Chris’ Espresso, the cafe gives basic espresso drinks from lattes ($4.25-$5.00) to macchiatos ($4.50-$5.50), in addition to an assortment of seasonal specials. On the Beacon location, the cafe companions with Peaceable Provisions to promote pastries, whereas on the New Paltz location candy treats come from the Highland-based Mad Batters Pastries. “We wished to be sure that we have been doing high quality, but additionally that we have been placing some enjoyable into it,” says Cruz. “We consider ourselves as very bubblegum.” That is evident within the specials, the latest characteristic being the Barbie lemonade, a fizzy pomegranate lemonade with pink glitter sprinkles. Cruz, Strika, and the opposite workers share the duty for making drinks in addition to caring for the cats.
Between the 2 places, Beans Cat Cafe is approaching almost 500 adoptions, proving the couple’s imaginative and prescient of opening house to share their love of cats by drinks and high quality cat time to be successful. You may stroll in or guide your cat time on-line. “This house welcomes anybody for whom being with animals makes them really feel higher,” says Strika.