Why Should You Open an Indoor Playground or Play Cafe?

A Trip Down Memory Lane for our 3rd Birthday

Exactly THREE years ago, my husband Chris and I were finally able to see almost a YEAR of our hard work come to life when we opened Climbing Vines Cafe & Play and hosted our first birthday party for a lucky little one!  

Since then, we have hosted over 550 parties, held over 200 special events and classes, and greeted thousands of smiles that walked through our door.
 

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It has undoubtedly been the most difficult, yet most rewarding journey for my family and I thus far in our lives.  We have had to adjust from my steady office job and paycheck to accepting a world FULL of uncertainty, long hours, and balancing having our children at home while we run our businesses!

This past year my husband was also able to leave his full-time job to work on our businesses, which has been a blessing. However, it further amplified the uncertainty in our world. The good news? It’s been SO worth it.

I definitely have a LOT more grey hair and get a LOT less sleep, but my heart is also SO full and when I do go to sleep each night, I am so thankful that I, along with our staff, were able to make that day a little more filled with fun and laughter for a special group of children and parents. 

To celebrate our 3 year anniversary (although we prefer the term "birthday!"), I thought I would give you a little behind-the-scenes look of the creation of our little "nook" of the world that we love and run so passionately each day.

If you are considering opening an indoor playground or play cafe, please consider this my vote of confidence in you. When I think about why I began this journey, I remember that it all STARTS and ENDS with family. I have been able to spend thousands more hours watching my children grow up and raising them than I would have had I stayed at my corporate job. And now, my husband has been able to achieve the freedom to accompany us full time as well!

I love that I am able to pick them up every day from school, volunteer in their classroom, and be there to put my youngest down for his nap. It is so fun involving my sons and their interests in our special events as well. This coming weekend, for example, they’ll be able to meet some new friends, visit with Santa in a sensory-friendly environment, and get a nice professional photo taken! They love helping with the set-up and being our special helpers.

As long as you set a strong foundation for your business , do your research, and be sure that the entrepreneurial lifestyle is one that your family can thrive in, NOTHING is stopping you!

I am definitely writing this post through tears in my eyes, since these photos bring back so many memories. When I think about revisiting these photos with my children in ten years, I am so immensely proud of the legacy I have build with them (with them by my side- literally!) and the positive impact we have made on our community.

Our First Photo

First, a photo of what our space looked like when we signed our lease. I remember feeling so overwhelmed at the amount of work ahead! We made some BIG mistakes with our lease- but after 2 years and a lot of help. we have been able to recover financially.

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I am so thankful for our focus group that spanned over a year, FULL of Rochester-area parents (a.k.a. our secret weapon!), that helped me make so many important decisions and helped to ease the burden. If you are reading this and are one of our "Vines Visionaries"- THANK YOU! Our space came together because of your guidance.

Our Menu Development

Now, a fun photo of our menu taste testing team! Before we even began construction, we enlisted the help of our focus group (and their little ones!) to choose a menu that was fresh, healthy, and of course... tasty and toddler approved! This photo was taken in my kitchen!

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Next, a photo of our counter where we greet our customers each day, just a few weeks before we opened our doors compared to today!  We designed ALL the colors ourselves based on how they made us feel- happy, refreshed, and energized!

The Cafe 

 

Next, our lounge area, which is a nice quiet area for customers who want to take a nice rest from the play area! I love the inspirational quotes covering the walls, especially the one that says "be AWESOME today!" It reminds me each morning to do my best and STAY POSITIVE despite the circumstances.

The Lounge

The Play Area

Finally, a before-and-after of our play-area! We have to thank our architect, Eric Ferri, for helping us decide on the layout of our area and really maximize the space! We just love it, and it looks just like it did in my dreams! We custom-designed our playhouses and planned the rest of the activities with teachers and parents, and with incredible care. It's so wonderful to see children enjoying playing here every day!

 

 

BONUS Behind-the-Scenes!

And now, some fun bonus photos! We spent SO much time traveling, learning, and talking to other parents while we prepared to open. All of it has paid off, but WOW, it was exhausting! 

Thank you for taking a moment to revisit our opening with me. if you are considering opening an Indoor Playground of your own- congratulations! Your road ahead is long, but paved with love.

When you look back on the memories you’ve built with your family, you will be so thankful you made this decision. Be sure to start your business off on the right foot by grabbing our FREE business plan checklist. I can’t wait to hear about your journey!