“As quickly as we got here up with Beans Cat Cafe, we determined the identify was so good that we needed to make this factor occur,” says Jess Cruz, who based the institution together with her companion, Justin Strika. The cafe permits clients to take pleasure in 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 all the time beg her to get a canine or a cat,” she says. “Once I received my first house, and observed my neighbor had a cat, I spotted I may get a cat. Immediately I received Bean, my first cat. It solely took six months after that to get one other.”
Cruz jumped on the thought when Strika proposed they open a cat cafe, an more and more well-liked enterprise pattern 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 develop into someplace the place individuals who grew up like myself with dad and mom 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 group,” says Strika. “It has that repute for being fascinating—bizarre in a great way.” Their tight price range, 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 direction of Beacon, in search of any house to make their imaginative and prescient a actuality. “I used to be given a chunk of recommendation that actually caught with me,” says Cruz. “You don’t want every little thing immediately. Get what it’s good 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 offers all cats fostered on the Cat Cafe. Throughout this time, the couple harbored a plan to broaden their enterprise. “I used to be nonetheless decided to have a second location in New Paltz,” says Cruz. “On a whiteboard at the back of the situation in Beacon, I wrote ‘100 months.’ Once I did the mathematics for these 100 months, it got here out to be January 18, 2023. That was after we have been going to get severe 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 a bit extra expertise and cash below 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 peaceful and playful atmosphere, regulated by the record 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) periods. Guests who fall in love with a cat can undertake their new pet by filling out an utility with the HVAS, whose vetting course of investigates particulars akin to leases and different family pets.
Most guests seize a espresso or a freshly squeezed lemonade to take pleasure in together with their cat time. With espresso from Albany-based Chris’ Espresso, the cafe provides traditional 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 make it possible for 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 function being the Barbie lemonade, a fizzy pomegranate lemonade with pink glitter sprinkles. Cruz, Strika, and the opposite staff share the accountability for making drinks in addition to taking good care of 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 via drinks and high quality cat time to be a hit. You’ll be able to stroll in or e book your cat time on-line. “This house welcomes anybody for whom being with animals makes them really feel higher,” says Strika.