Monday, April 8, 2013


There are so many new things in the cafe this morning that I think we actually need a blogpost to cover it. Facebook will just not suffice.

We were so glad to receive your responses to the survey. They confirmed a lot of what we had already been planning to work on, be we also got some tips on things we hadn't thought of. One of those was trouble with the baby gate blocking the kitchen. I'm happy to report that this morning we have a new picket fence similar to the one at the front door which will be much sturdier for keeping out our little explorers. Yay!!

We, along with you, had been dying to get some color up on our walls. But we were holding out for the right artist to exhibit with us who would be a great fit for the cafe. Kelsey Melville just hung her art on our walls last night and I'm so excited to introduce you to her work and her talent! The other exciting thing is that her pieces are available for purchase. So if you love them as much as we do, just let us know at the counter and we can arrange for you to take one home.

We have started to expand our menu as well. Last week we began offering vegan Coconut Banana cookies and Appalachian Trail Bars from 9th Street Bakery. The cookies are super yummy, as are the trail bars--which are packed with enough nutrition to make a mini-meal. This week we are also adding mini-cheesecakes from local baker Milk and Honey. These will be the perfect and delish mama treat to add on to your snack tray. They even fit in a muffin cup! Could it get any better? For spring and summer we will also be adding a whole menu of yummy flavored ice tea choices and some blended drinks. We'll keep you posted on those as they arrive.

The last announcement is that we heard you loud and clear on our membership pricing. We have decided to change the plan and offer 6 month memberships instead of yearly ones. A 6-month membership for one child will now be $70, for a family (2 or more kids) it is $125. If you add it up, it's still a markdown from the old price, but it also allows you to try the membership with less risk and see how frequent visits to Stay & Play fit in to your life. We think you will love building a community here!

Phew! It's like a whole new place! When you come back in I think you'll really notice the fresh energy here. Can't wait to see you!

Monday, December 31, 2012


With only a few weeks to go until the grand opening, things are falling into place at a dizzying pace over here! Our needed supply list has made it over the hump where now there are fewer things we need than things we have secured, although I am always thinking of something else we need of course! We have hired some really fun and talented baristas and class instructors. Painting is sccheduled for TODAY in the store. We've also got most of the grand opening details in place. It will be such a fun day, you won't want to miss it!

It is amazing to think that in just a few weeks this will have gone from just an idea in this mama's head to a real place we can go and hang out with our kids! I am so thankful to everyone who's support helped us along and glad to see this becoming a reality. Won't be long now!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Working for beans

The life of a play cafe owner has many facets, some glamourous and some not so. But some of its recent perks have come through our coffee selection process. We have been meeting some of the nicest roasters, suppliers, machine specialists, etc., and they keep making us really fabulous cups of coffee. The other day when we went to pick up Essie from the repair shop we were exposed to such a force in the realm of espresso that it left me buzzed in more than one sense. Who out there knows Dick Tabor? This man is really cool. I wish you could all meet him. If you get the chance (he takes care of a lot of great coffee-shop equipment in the area), do! You will come away with a much greater appreciation for what an espresso machine is capable of and why that is so wonderful. I hope we can pass on some of that experience to you all. We sure will try!

But yesterday I also had the pleasure of receiving at my door a basket of 5 kinds of locally roasted fair trade beans from a roaster in Durham called Bean Peace. We sampled one (decaf!) version with dessert last night and really enjoyed it. Today we are visiting another roaster in Raleigh to try their coffee. It's a tough job but someone's got to do it.

Ok, have I made you jealous yet? If so just notice the time this was posted. (Then, relax, it must be on pacific time! : ) ) It wasn't the first thing I did this morning by a long shot either. 5:30 wake-ups are one of those less glamourous facets. Good thing they go along with good coffee right? : )

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Merry Christmas from Stay & Play!

We set up a little Christmas display in the window at the store today! The sign there is the same tried and true one from our kickstarter campaign last summer. She has a few battle scars, and never fear, we will have a brand spanking new big permanent one over the door shortly, but I thought it would be fun to give that sign a last hurrah as the first display in the brick and mortar shop. Don't you?

We will soon be adding some twinkle lights, but I was too excited about it not to give you a little sneak peek. ; )

Thursday, November 29, 2012


The other day I read this post. I love Amber Dusick's blog. She frequently has me in tears from laughing so hard. But that particular post sort of captures how much fun it is for me to gather all the toys for our store. Maybe you never really grow out of liking toys, (or maybe I never did, and that's why I've got such a passion for play cafes!). Anyway, I've got a master spreadsheet going and am trying to get the best stuff sourced for the best prices, so we can have more to play with. I am feeling a little bit of pressure since I know all you other parents out there are also looking for the best toys at the best prices to put under your Christmas trees. If anybody buys anything awesome on amazon and leaves only one more item in stock, let me know! I'm living in fear a bit. ; ) But I do have tricks other than amazon up my sleeve too just so you know.

I thought it might be fun to feature some of the toys I'm picking up to give you a little preview of what we will have in the store. Today I'll show two of our infant toys. This is the Wonderworld Peek-a-boo ball. I think it's really cute and can't wait to see your little crawlers chasing it around the baby area.

Wonderworld Peek-a-boo Ball
Also from Wonderworld are these stacking rings.

Wonderworld New Stacking Rings

What baby does't love stacking rings right? I did opt for the nontoxic painted wooden version for us. It's just so much prettier, still cleanable, and green too. Win, win, win.

More toy profiles will be coming up soon. Don't forget to put your two cents in if you think there's something we really need to have. I'm all ears!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Home sweet home

We signed our lease for our store today! It was a long time coming, but I am really happy about where we landed. Our new home is 405A East Chapel Hill Street in downtown Durham. It is a really nice space with a layout that will be perfect for cordoning off our play areas. It has a lot of what we need in terms of kitchen equipment already there, which makes our buildout less expensive, and faster as well. And the bathroom has such pretty tile! You'll love it.

It is SO exciting to stand there and see the actual shape of what we've been thinking about and planning for for so long. Having the location nailed down allows all the really fun details to begin to come together as well. A general layout will soon lead to specific toys and furniture that will be the stuff of relaxation and third space escape for us and our kids. And the extra exciting thing is that our  construction timeline has actual dates in it! (I superstitiously feel like I shouldn't reveal them over the interwebs. You never know how long things are going to take, ahem. --Lesson learned from lease negotiation.) It should be very soon that we can invite you to our grand opening! And our preview party for our super-supporters from kickstarter! Get excited folks! This is for real!

Now that things are rolling with our physical location, you can expect much more frequent updates over here about what is happening. But for now mark this address as our new home (and yours!)!