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“I didn’t have a business partner, so it was really good to have Rich to talk to,” Quain said.“I’m sure he could be doing a lot of other things with his life, so I really appreciate that he has decided to do this.” A veteran of other start-ups, Quain never expected opening her own business would be easy, but neither did she anticipate how hard it would be to secure a loan or a lease.Located near the intersection of I-5 and 405, the 8,500-square-foot facility is drawing parents, babies, toddlers and preschoolers from all over the Puget Sound area who are looking for low-stress, high-energy fun on a rainy day.
While the café is busiest on rainy days, its offerings are attracting a strong following rain or shine.
Three rooms, one of which doubles as a dance studio, are available for birthday parties and other private celebrations.
“The target market was clearly defined, the market demand was documented, the forecast and cost structure was clearly laid out and the timeline for launch of the various revenue streams was documented,” he said.
Quain, who has 20 years of experience in sales and marketing in New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, first met Shockley in 2010 while participating in Highline Community College’s Start Zone, a microenterprise training program.
But in March 2014, the Red Tricycle named Playdate Café the best in the greater Seattle area.
Red Tricycle is an online kids’ activities guide for parents in cities nationwide; see Before Playdate Café opened, she said, she estimates she spent more than 10,000 hours over three years on researching the industry, working in similar businesses to gain hands-on experience, writing a business plan, getting a loan, finding a location, executing the build-out and hiring staff.Her Excel spreadsheet records more than 1,000 separate tasks completed en route to opening the doors.But none, she said, matched her vision of an all-inclusive center for play, learning and celebrations with a healthy café to keep both children and adults fueled and ready to engage.There are now about a dozen indoor play centers in the region.She always knew she’d make it to the finish line, but the question was whether someone else with a similar vision would make it there first.In fact, while she was meeting with banker after banker and then touring possible locations throughout Puget Sound, several indoor play centers did open.A single mother of twin preschoolers, she didn’t just know her target market, she was her target market.Even so, Shockley pushed her to verify every assumption.“I’m overwhelmed by the positive response” to the business, Quain said.She’s also near-to-overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in launching a small business.