Ruth is the human interest reporter and a photographer for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Child-friendly cafe risks closure after drop in customers

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Amy Campbell hopes husiness will pick up again in her child-friendly cafe, located at 85 12th Ave. Photo/Andrew Warner
Amy Campbell hopes husiness will pick up again in her child-friendly cafe, located at 85 12th Ave. Photo/Andrew Warner

A small Tauranga not-for-profit organisation may have to close its doors just months after opening.

Amy Campbell opened PlayCafe, a child-friendly cafe for parents in the Tauranga region, on March 9.

Over the last three weeks, the business has seen fewer and fewer customers and Ms Campbell fears she may have to close the doors if the interest does not pick up again.

"We had a fantastic response when we first opened, we were solidly busy for the first eight weeks. But in the last three weeks it has petered out to little or no people coming in," she said.

The 37-year-old mum said she had surveyed some of her customers about if there were improvements that could be made, and had been working on making the cafe more appetising for former and new customers.

A recent stomach bug might have been keeping customers away but she had also taken note to put more children's snacks on the menu, including gluten-free and dairy-free options, she said.

Another comment they had received was that people did not know where they were located, so she was going to reach out to different groups.

Ms Campbell said they could seat 22 adults and 15 to 20 children at any one time.

Over the last few weeks they had only seen about 20 customers a day compared with 80 a day when they first opened.

They needed about 50 customers a day to break even, she said.

"We are the only cafe in Tauranga that caters specifically to mums. We are designed for mums and young families.

"We have a whole host of things for the kids to do while mums, or dads, sit back and have a coffee.

"We also host groups and are a non-profit organisation - we will be putting the proceeds of the cafe towards free art classes for the community.

"It's a social enterprise and we like to support our community and our mums. The people who have been here have given us fantastic feedback. They love the space and they can have a coffee uninterrupted because the children are busy with dress-ups or doing something else.

"Places like Chipmunks and Lollipops solely focus on the kids, while nice cafes like You and Me has great food but the children are not catered for.

"We have tried to meet in the middle where it is not too about the kids but it is not too exclusive, either. I'm hoping this is a case of just more people finding out about us. It is a beautiful space, it would be sad to see it go."

PlayCafe: 85 Twelfth Avenue, Tauranga | 3110

Hours: 9am to 3pm | Seven days

- Bay of Plenty Times

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