To say that I'm not scared or worried would be a lie. I'm in a group with over 100 other Play Cafe owners and prospective owners and hearing their struggles is real. Some of these women just held their grand opening weeks before everything shut down due to COVID. They are unable to get government aid grants or other financial assistance because they haven't been open long enough. But, that doesn't mean that rent and other bills aren't still due and piling up for them as their doors remain closed. They have tried multiple creative things to raise money, but it's just not enough.
I've continued to move forward in some ways, while we've put on the brakes in other ways. Right before things shut down, we had found a space and even had a contract drawn up and were ready to sign a lease. I'm so thankful that the timing played out as it did and we weren't stuck paying for something that we couldn't use. The longer this shut down has dragged on, the more I began to question. Is this really going to work? Are people still going to leave their houses and bring their kids somewhere like this? Do I start making purchases? Do we sign the lease, knowing that we'll need months of renovations before opening? Is this just too big of a risk?
But I keep coming back to the fact that this is a dream that I believe God has put in my heart. I still stand behind the mission and vision of this business. I remember the years of having toddlers in the house and feeling such a huge need for relationship and connection with other adults. I've talked with local moms asking what they plan to do after things begin to open up. I've still received a lot of confirmation that this is wanted, needed and will be used. If I give up on something every time it becomes difficult, or seems to be risky, my life would look a whole lot different and I would have missed out on so many wonderful experiences. So, we are moving forward. Tentatively, and as wisely as we can, but forward nonetheless.
Today, my excitement has been rekindled. I spent some time this morning at the space with a contractor. We looked around and tried to measure the layout of the space so that we can get our final designs and projected expenses for the renovation. While we were there, my mom, daughter and sister in law (along with her three kids) and cousin stopped by to see the space. To walk them through the space and give them a glimpse of my dream and what is to come, and see their faces light up with excitement has done my heart a world of good. To see the kids running around and imagining all the other children who will use this space in the months and years to come reminded me of the need for something like this in our community.
Yes, it's a risk. Starting a new business is always risky. Yes, we are in unprecedented times with many unknowns. My timeline may change and things may not look exactly like I planned, but I will move forward. Step by step, until we see this dream become a reality.