Were you wondering about the status of Katie, Formerly Known As The FPC, and Maggie's Mom-Friendly Cafe? (Just say yes.) Well, we're still thinking about it. And talking about it. And not entirely sure what to do next.
We've tweaked the vision a tiny bit. Based on the fact that all the play cafes I know about either charge to play or have gone out of business, I suspect it's not a super great way to make money. We are NOT charging to play in our space. The end. Other things we don't want to do: tout our playspace as educational, host child development workshops, look like a preschool, etc. What Katie wants to do is own a bakery. What I want to do is be a welcoming community space. And eat baked goods.
So now I'm looking at straight up bakery business plans. A bakery with space to play. It would have to get by on being a bakery, but it would (hopefully) be KNOWN as a great place to go with your kids. I think we're dialing back the cafe aspect - the lunch menu and all that - but ramping up the treats, the special orders, the quality. It might not be as BIG as I once envisioned (I've been looking at rents!) but it would still be a space that obviously and cheerfully welcomes little kids - I'm still hoping for designated play areas, as well as kid-sized tables and chairs, art supplies, books, puzzles, train tables, all that.
A lot of the local cafes with designated kid space get their baked goods elsewhere. We would be ALL ABOUT the baked goods. And Katie and I are both surprised at how many local bakeries/cafes don't make an effort to be PRETTY. We would concentrate a lot on display. We aren't into the "adorability" factor, a'la a certain local cupcake shop, but we like their bright cleanliness, their devotion to a Look, the way they get you to pay up to $10 a cupcake (NO LIE) because of the LOOK.
I'm still mulling over what exactly our brand would be, but something bright, modern, clean, consistent. We'd want people to feel like they're in a special Land of Deliciousness when they step into our store. It's not a cutesy cupcake shop, it's not a froofy vintage storefront where the barista is wearing an Anthropologie apron, it's not a serious coffee Seattle coffee shop, it's not a no-frills all-we-do-is-freaking-amazing-cake shop, it's not a birthday cake orders machine - it's... I want it to be like your best friend who makes amazing creative birthday cakes for her kids and doesn't mind getting out the poster paints. She's classy, busy, on the ball, smart, organized, has excellent taste, her scones are to die for, and she totally doesn't care if your kids destroy her house during a playdate. She WANTS your kids to have a good time. And she wants you to have seconds and pours more coffee while you tell her all about the preschool drama. Do you get the feel I'm shooting for? Yes, that table right there is for your kids to go crazy with stamps and markers and why don't you stick your toddler in this little enclosed area and here's a plate of puffed pastry amazingness and a giant latte because you deserve a break. And why don't you order that baby shower cake while you're at it? (I'm practicing for my business plan. (Ha. Have you looked at business plans? I'm not sure most of the ones I've looked at are even written in English. INTIMIDATING.))
For locals, I think I want a North Seattle bakery that could easily slide into a U Village retail spot. But won't. Because it loves North Seattle and all its friends live up there. Like, that's how you feel when you walk in. "Oh, this is so cute! AND IT'S NEAR ME!" I THINK. For now. The vision, it is fluid!
I suppose other people would concentrate on the baked items. That's Katie's department. I'm just sitting here thinking about FEELINGS.
Also, I suppose all of you are thinking, "THIS is never going to happen!" That's what I think most of the time too. But then sometimes I think WAIT IT JUST MIGHT.
I am reading an EXCELLENT war book right now. I'll tell you about it later. I have no business reading anyway, seeing as how I have nine million things to do before we (drum roll) get on a plane to Mexico Saturday morning. (And as soon as we get home, like, THE NEXT DAY, we are having long term-ish house guests. Oh dear God. I need to be doing All The Laundry.)