January 13—Kokomo Humane Society’s Cat Café had just begun to attract regular customers when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Then, as the restrictions began to loosen, the coffee machine broke down.
Karen Wolfe, executive director of the Humane Society, explained that the nonprofit wanted to delay reopening the cafe after the initial setbacks – until it can put more organizing effort into the cafe’s services. . This week, the cafe opened its doors again to customers.
“What we hoped for years ago is now happening,” Wolfe said. “So I’m really excited about that.”
For now, the cafe will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. However, coffee will not be served after 4 p.m.
The Humane Society is also considering opening on Mondays.
The cafe’s purpose, Wolfe said, is to simultaneously raise funds for the Humane Society while finding homes for the cats that roam the cafe. The cats are in a glass enclosure that customers can enter for $5.
When the cafe first opened, Wolfe explained, it was run by volunteers who served drip-brewed coffee and snacks.
This time around, the cafe serves up treats from various local organizations, such as Dan’s Variety Bakery, Moore’s Pie Shop, and Indulgence Bakery.
Wolfe added that the treats offered will change depending on what day visitors come to the cafe. For example, pies will be served on Friday and donuts will be served on Saturday.
The store continues to seek partners, Wolfe said, and is open to restaurants and bakeries.
The Humane Society has also brought in a full-time barista for its reopening, Stormy Sullivan.
With a full-time barista, the cafe menu has expanded and now offers espresso-based drinks, such as $4 “catpucinno” or “latte meowchiato.” A standard coffee or espresso will cost you $2.
Sullivan had first been hired as a cleaner at the Humane Society. But, during the job interview, Wolfe decided she would be a perfect fit for the cafe.
So far, Sullivan said, it’s been a nice job.
“It’s a very quiet and nice place to work,” Sullivan said. “I’m an animal person, so that’s automatically a bonus there. … It’s just a really good feeling to work here, to come in and see the smiles on the faces.”
The first week back went well, Wolfe said. As a bonus, the cafe had helped three cats find homes on Friday morning.
“We’ve had more business and more payments, more people eating and drinking than ever before,” Wolfe said.
James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or [email protected].