Durham mom opens kid-friendly coffee house

CorrespondentJanuary 29, 2013 

  • In other business: • The store High Strung Violins & Guitars in Durham has opened a music school. Lessons and group classes in banjo, ukulele, violin, guitar, cello, mandolin and other string instruments are offered. Six teachers are launching the school at 1805 W. Markham Ave. The locally owned store, at 1116 Broad St., has seven studios and sells, repairs and rents stringed instruments. • One World Market in Durham will hold a free chocolate tasting from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 9 featuring more than 40 kinds of Fair Trade chocolate. Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive a fair price and strictly prohibits slave and child labor, a widespread problem in cocoa production. One World Market, which has a mission to alleviate poverty in developing countries is a nonprofit, fair-trade store that offers artisans a marketplace to sell their crafts. The store is at 811 Ninth St. • The American Tobacco Campus in Durham has selected The Angus Barn as the exclusive caterer and events manager for Bay 7. The arrangement marks the first time the restaurant has expanded offsite in its 52-year history. Bay 7 will remain a rental space for private events. The historic site has been used for wedding receptions, corporate meetings, fundraisers, holiday parties, trade shows, art exhibits and reunions.

After stay-at-home mother Emily McCall had her second daughter, escaping the house became more necessary.

“The four walls just start closing in on you,” she said.

Yet it was even harder to do.

A trip to Barnes & Noble meant feeding the baby while trying to stop her toddler from yanking books off the shelves. McCall, 31, found few places where she could relax while the children played.

So she began working on a business plan for a place where parents could talk with friends over coffee or use their laptops while their kids played close by.

“I was kind of looking for a happy medium between a kids’ place and an adult place,” she said.

Other Triangle parents liked the idea – in one month they contributed more than $17,000 to McCall’s Kickstarter campaign.

McCall opened Stay & Play Snack Café on Jan. 19 at 405-A E. Chapel Hill St.

The space consists of one large room with tables and couches, and play stations for children. It includes a craft area, train station, play kitchen, doll house, infant gyms and a reading nook. A large fitness area has a mirror and interlocking foam mat.

Locally roasted coffee and tea, as well as snacks for adults and children are available, although visitors aren’t expected to make purchases. Admission is $4.50 a child and $3 for siblings. Yearly memberships are available and fitness, music and arts classes will be offered.

Kid-friendly coffee shops have been popping up across the country, McCall said. She thinks a big part of their appeal is that her generation grew up hanging out at coffee shops and still wants that experience after having children.

Meagan Powlas, 31, of Durham stopped by recently to check out Stay & Play, where her sons Henry, 3, and 10-month old Shepherd became enamored with the train table. Henry yanked open a drawer to find a toy engine while the baby mouthed a wooden railway sign.

Powlas said the place was safe, and appealing to both boys.

“The way the place is contained is really important,” Powlas said. “You know they’re not going to jump on an elevator or run out into the street.”

And the coffee is a bonus.

“That’s been exciting, too.”

Jones: jamiekennedyjones@gmail.com

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