ST. PETERSBURG — With dog bars, cat cafes and family-friendly breweries, Tampa Bay is rich with spots that blur the lines of more traditional gathering spaces.
And coming soon, a new business will let kids play while parents enjoy a coffee or even get work done.
Run and Play Kids Cafe is a collaboration between Jessica Garvin, owner of Runrun Kids Store, and Hanna Rewerts of Bean Wandering, a mobile coffee trailer. The 3,000-square-foot space at 3950 Central Ave. — right next door to Runrun Kids — will feature a kid-friendly cafe and 1,700 square feet of indoor play space.
It’s expected to open in April.
Garvin opened Runrun Kids in August after a stint as one of the marketplace vendors on the St. Pete Pier. She met Rewerts when she tapped Bean Wandering to pop up at the store’s grand opening.
“It all kind of snowballed from there,” Rewerts said.
Both mothers of small children, they often joked about the idea of opening a kids cafe. But when the space next door to Garvin’s shop became available, they took the idea seriously. Garvin holds the lease and Rewerts subleases the cafe.
The goal is to attract parents to a public space where they feel comfortable having their kids, while they can also enjoy themselves, Garvin said.
There will be a fee to use the play space and Garvin said there will be memberships. The cafe will be at the front of the space and will offer signature canned iced lattes, cold brew, drinks geared toward kids, mocktails and pastries from local bakeries.
A large play set is being custom-built for the space that encourages touching and motor development, but mainly the space gives kids the freedom to just run around. The playset will help subtly divide the space by age group. While there will be staff to engage the children, parents will be their main supervisors, as it won’t be a drop-off spot.
The cafe will be accessible from the play space through a window, so parents can easily get drinks while keeping an eye on kids. A section will be off-limits to kids so parents can work while the kids are occupied.
There will be activities like pop-up story times and talks from local parenting experts. At times, a wall between the cafe and the store will come down to allow for more cafe seating, as well as to invite kids to come look at — and touch — items.
Run and Play Kids Cafe will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday.
Both Garvin and Rewerts are optimistic about the cafe’s location in the Central Oak Park neighborhood, where they have seen many families out walking. It’s also in close proximity to the SunRunner’s 40th Street stop.
As a prelude to what’s to come at the cafe, a Valentine’s Day Soiree will be held there at 3950 Central Ave. from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Feb. 14. There will be coffee, cookies and a bounce house. Tickets are $10 per child and available at eventbrite.com.