ASBURY LOVE: Catsbury Park
We're extremely excited that Catsbury Park opened it's doors this past weekend!
Cat Cafes started in Asia nearly 20 years ago and due to popularity began making their way to the United States a few years ago. In essence, a cat cafe is a way for the public to interact with cats in a unique, social, non-shelter environment. In the United States there are now several Cat Cafes and most offer various drinks, food, snacks, merchandise (mostly cat-themed) for sale, as well as a “cat lounge” in which you can take the items you have purchased at the cafe into and enjoy all while surrounded by 10-15 adorable, loving cats. All of the cats in Catsbury Park's cat lounge will be available for adoption. Catsbury Park will be the first Cat Cafe in New Jersey!
How and when did you get your start? The vision for Catsbury Park started about 2 years ago when we started the 501 (c) non-profit rescue division of Catsbury Park with the intent of later opening NJ's first cat cafe. We spent a year visiting cat cafes throughout the USA, Europe and Japan, before returning to Asbury Park and our location at 708 Cookman Avenue. Since August of 2016, we have been working non-stop to open, and to address the complex logistical issues we faced as a unusual business for New Jersey.
Where do you draw inspiration from? The original inspiration for Catsbury Park cafe came after I visited Kittea in San Francisco. I was inspired by what they were doing and believed that a cat cafe would be a great business to bring to Asbury Park.
Why did you choose Asbury Park? I grew up in and around the area. I first started playing music in Asbury in the mid 90’s, and have resided in or close by since 1999. I watched the town and community grow over the years, and dreamed of opening a unique business and becoming a part of the close knit business community that makes this town special. The cat cafe I wanted to create was always going to be in Asbury Park—hence the name Catsbury Park.
Describe your perfect day in Asbury Park? My perfect day in Asbury includes riding my bike and swimming in the ocean—both a must for me. l love that Asbury is a biking community, and that you can get anywhere you need to in only a few minutes. My ideal day would also incorporate a trip downtown to the Cookman/Bangs area. I often grab breakfast at Cardinal Provisions or a coffee at Volan—both places I am certain to run into someone I have known at least half my life. If a Friday, however, I would be at Frank’s for breakfast—a weekly tradition with some of my closest buddies. The evening to top of my ideal day might find me playing soccer, walking the boardwalk, hanging on the roof with friends, perhaps catching a friend’s band play at the Asbury Park Yacht Club. But no day is complete unless I fall asleep cuddling with my five best friends—Cleo, Moo, Klay, Toni and Brian.
Tell us more about what a cat cafe is? We have built Catsbury Park so that anyone can come and spend time with adorable, adoptable cats, have a great cup of tea and enjoy delicious snacks. We placed the emphasis on making the “cafe” as integral to Catsbury Park as the cat lounge. Our menu, created by Cardinal for Catsbury Park (under the name Lettuce and Lemon—two special cats), was crafted with the customer experience at the cafe in mind. We hope that everyone who comes in to play with or take a cat home will also discover a new favorite place to sit and have tea (or coffee), perhaps work on their laptop, and have a delicious lunch before or after the beach (or to escape the cold). Our cat lounge will be one of a kind, with climbing structures custom built in an effort to recreate several of Asbury Park's iconic landmarks. Of course, cats are the heart and soul of our business. As such, we are planning numerous events to be hosted at Catsbury Park outside of our normal operating hours. These cat-centric events include cat yoga, cat arts and crafts, movie nights with cats, as well as educational seminars on how to care for cats and keep them healthy.
Help Support Catsbury Park's GoFundMe Campaign: Catsbury Park is a 501(c) non-profit and is in need of donations and support for all aspects of the business. The building of Catsbury Park, a new business concept in this area, was far more expensive then we had anticipated. This was due in no small part to the regulations required to open a business with animals, and on Cookman Avenue. To help us offset at least some of these costs we started a gofundme campaign.