Business Spotlight: Feline First | Springfield Business Journal

Mary Trexler’s business plan that hatched while pursuing an online bachelor’s degree in 2019 served as the genesis of the Branson cat cafe Mochas and Meows LLC – a unique concept in a city filled with its fair share of unusual businesses. .

Trexler, who owns six cats, says the 2-year-old business serves a dual purpose. It’s both a cafe and cat lounge that occupies separate spaces in the Falls Mall.

“I did, but I was just a ship,” she says. “From day one it has been a matter of God. “

According to a study by the Springfield Business Journal, Mochas and Meows is among the five cat cafes in Missouri, the next closest being Columbia.

Coffee is provided by Iowa-based Java House Coffee Roasters, and the shop’s menu features espresso drinks, herbal teas, boba, and hot teas, as well as fruit, peanut butter smoothies. and desserts. Dining options include smoothie bowls and squeezed sandwiches nicknamed ‘purrninis’. To accentuate the feline influence of the cafe, the menu features several cat-focused product names, such as Ameowicano and Catpuccino.

Lounge activity
In the next cat lounge, visible from inside the cafe, 20 stray cats were playing, sleeping, or attracting the attention of visitors on a recent November day. All cats, except two belonging to Trexler, are available for adoption through Branson-based Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society. The lounge allows guests to spend time with the cats for a blanket fee of $ 4 for 15 minutes, $ 6 for 30 minutes, or $ 10 for an hour.

While the Humane Society keeps about two-thirds of every $ 150 in adoption fees, Trexler said all salon fees go to Mochas and Meows.

“These cover our overheads. Since we are a for-profit business, not only do I pay rent for both units; I pay for utilities in every unit, ”she says of the 2,500 combined square feet she leases from JW Franklin Co.

All cats up for adoption stay at least one week to socialize. Trexler says socialization makes cats more likely to adjust to other pets and family members when they are introduced to a new home. The Humane Society covers all veterinary expenses, while Mochas and Meows rely heavily on donations to cover supplies of cat food and litter.

Adoptions have reached nearly 120, Trexler says, adding that she adopted three of the cats. One of them is Miles, the cafe’s unofficial mascot, who appears on the store window and its four billboards.

She estimates this to be an almost even split of income from the salon, food service, and various retail sales, which includes branded goods, such as t-shirts and hoodies.

“We’re under $ 10,000 for the year in each category,” she says of forecasted revenues for 2021, refusing to disclose the totals. “We have experienced much greater growth than I expected. We have learned a lot in a very short time. We’re up 82% at this point from last year.

Part of the unexpected growth is due to the number of locals visiting. When it opened, Trexler expected most of its business to come from tourists to the Branson area. Instead, she considers it a 50/50 split.

“I tried to structure all the prices with the premises in mind,” she says. “I could raise the prices and make more money, but I would alienate the local clientele. “

One of those local clients is Christine Riutzel, who has operated her own art business, Beauty From Light LLC, since 2017. Riutzel estimates that she has painted around 70 murals, mostly in the Branson and Hollister area. This includes a distinctive that occupies a back wall in Mochas and Meows.

Riutzel remembers telling Trexler, “I really want to support you the only way I can is through art.” The two didn’t know each other until the cafe opened. “So, I offered to do a free mural for his business,” adds Riutzel.

His artwork of cats in random activities – singing and as a NASA astronaut, for example – added personal touches to incorporate some of Trexler’s interests, such as his love for the Kansas City Royals and comedian David Spade.

“It inspired me to do more community work, which led to me working with the Town of Hollister and the Town of Branson,” Riutzel says of the cafe mural.

On the horizon
Trexler’s connection to the local Humane Society will soon extend outside the walls of his cafe.

A new cafe, dubbed Pawfee Break by Mochas and Meows, is planned for the Shepherd of the Hills Humane Society building in Branson. It is expected to share the space currently occupied by the agency’s thrift store, Trexler said, estimating it will occupy 550 square feet. She says the building is undergoing a complete renovation with its infill to be the last part. She expects it to open in fall 2022.

“There will be no food, only drinks – and we’ll keep the cats here,” she says.

After spending five years as a stay-at-home mom until 2019, Trexler admits that a cat cafe wasn’t the most logical choice for a first-time commercial venture.

“They were thinking then what they are thinking now, which is that I am crazy,” she says, laughing at the opinions of family and friends on the concept. “But somehow it works.”

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