ROTTERDAM — Coffee and cat lovers rejoice.
A former bank building located at the Five Corners intersection is currently being renovated into a cat cafe, where visitors will be able to mingle with around a dozen cats while enjoying coffee and fresh baked goods as early as this spring.
The Pretty Paw Lounge was conceived by Rachel Anne, a model and actress who grew up just around the corner from the building at 370 Mariaville Road, a former bank building that was converted into a pawn shop for a brief period.
She came up with the concept after visiting similar cafes while attending photoshoots in places like Miami and Los Angeles and settled on the idea after purchasing the property as a way to increase her real estate portfolio.
“While I was there I just got into the habit of visiting cat cafes because I love cats,” Anne said. “When I was visiting, I was like, ‘Wow, we don’t have anything like this in Albany.’“
Anne, 38, closed on the property in December and is currently halfway through renovating the more than 4,000-square-foot building that will be divided into two businesses: the cafe, which is on track to open in May, and a high-end liquor store whose owners are expected to sign a lease agreement later this week.
She declined to provide information on the business until the lease was signed, but said the owner operates three other stores throughout the region.
The cafe, first reported by the Albany Business Review, also will operate as an adoption center, according to Anne, who volunteers with a number of animal rescue organizations throughout the region.
Kitten Angels, a local nonprofit dedicated to finding homes for rescued and abandoned cats, will operate the clinic and receive all proceeds from the adoption fees.
The cafe will also sell everything a new cat owner would need to take care of their newly adopted kitten, including carriers and toys, Anne said.
“The only revenue that the cat cafe makes is the bakery and then the lounge visits,” she said.
At the front of the cafe will be a small gift shop that will sell cat-related products and fresh baked goods and beverages that will be brought in daily by Anne’s cousin, who currently operates The Pop-up Baker, a food truck selling baked goods in Vermont.
A separate lounge area in the rear is where visitors will be able to enjoy their items and mingle with the felines, all of which will be provided by Kitten Angels and be available for adoption, Anne said.
Lounge visits will come with a fee: $15 for a half hour and $20 for an hour, which Anne said is necessary to cover the costs of the business.
Appointments will be available online, and guests will also be able to book time with the cats they are interested in adopting.
The Five Corners intersection is one of the most heavily-traversed thoroughfares in town and is currently home to an Aldi supermarket, Tops American Grill and several gas stations and fast food establishments.
Anne said she was drawn to the building’s location and recent renovations on the property that she noted fit perfectly with her plans.
“I found it very, very unique and I thought it would work so well for what I was doing,” she said.
Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected] or by calling 518-395-3120.
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Categories: Business, News, News, Rotterdam, Schenectady County