LONDONDERRY, NH – Young families with young children find it difficult to find places to go where they feel comfortable, safe and able to have fun. And more than ever, they lock themselves in their homes.
This spring, there may be a solution for southern New Hampshire: the Nest Family Cafe.
Londonderry couple Jamie and Ryan Getchell are currently renovating the space at 25 Orchard View Drive Unit 1 to create a brand new cafe niche. The hope is to open in early April.
Earlier this month, they secured the necessary permits from the city to begin interior construction, and they managed to raise $25,511 from more than 300 backers who supported a Starter campaign that will cover some of the additional amenities.
“Community feedback has been overwhelming in response to this,” Jamie said.
They got the idea for the business from their own experience as parents of three children (ages 5, 4 and 18 months) and their desire to relive the joys of dating in a casual cafe, an experience that became elusive after the birth of their firstborn. .
“When we met, we went out to cafes together,” Ryan said. “The experience wasn’t the same as when we were dating, probably because of the child.”
What they offered was a unique mix of chic and stylish cafe and low-key children’s play area.
The approximately 1,500 square foot space will include regular seating space, a play area for young children (designed to look like a bird’s nest), a reading nook in a tree house, a family room private with changing table, bottle warmer and breast-feeding chair, snack dispenser wall with a selection of cereals and chalk wall. The idea is to provide enough activities so that children don’t get bored, but not too much fun to the point of getting upset.
“We really wanted to be different from a Chuck E Cheese or an Xtreme Craze,” Ryan said.
The coffee will be provided by Peet’s Coffee, a national specialty brand with little presence in New Hampshire until now.
“They tend to be a more sustainable, community-driven brand,” Ryan said. “We could have opted for a local roast, but there were so many shops offering local beans that we wanted to offer something that was different.”
The cafe will brew regular coffee, cold brews, espressos, lattes, and hot chocolates.
Along with the snack bar and on-the-go items like yogurt tubes and juice packets, the cafe will also offer bespoke bento boxes that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
The cafe will sell pastries from Klemm’s Bakery in Windham. And there will be homemade smoothies.
“We even have a silent blender so we don’t scare the kids,” Jamie said.
The cafe will also sell home spa items for the mum looking to indulge, Melissa & Doug learning toys and activities, and “Play-Doh Surprise Jars” (which each contain a secret surprise at the inside the dough), which the Getchells create themselves, and mugs with tongue-in-cheek phrases printed on them such as “Mom Needs Coffee”.
They’ve already heard of local moms in the area with Etsy shops looking to sell their crafts through the cafe.
Ryan said its location next to a salon and boutique is perfect for the type of population they are targeting.
The two had an “entrepreneurial itch” for a while. They began dating as working professionals; Ryan was a software designer for data warehousing and business intelligence and Jamie worked for the FBI in Boston.
Jamie quit his job to raise the kids while Ryan worked remotely from home. But when the pandemic hit, they started going crazy, which presented an idea for a solution and a business model. They decided to take the plunge last year, and started looking for spaces and testing the idea on friends.
Ryan quit his job in May and they signed a lease with the Orchard View Drive location in June (though the landlord didn’t ask them to pay rent until the change of use was settled. with the city).
About a quarter of the business is self-funded and the rest is financed by a loan from the Small Business Administration.
The Getchells say they noticed several moments of serendipity throughout the process. They found the location just as the owner announced his availability, they get free marketing research and recommendations from a team of UNH seniors who chose their cafe as the center of their Capstone project, and the The Getchell’s next door neighbor is the East Coast Sales Manager for Peet’s Coffee in the United States.
“Meetings with him are a cup of coffee in our driveway. We don’t need to go far,” Jamie said.
The Getchells say they think the concept has great potential for additional locations and even a franchise down the road. But they probably won’t consider diversifying for about five years.