Café N Play closing in Naperville
A Naperville kids' play area with a coffee shop to please the parents is closing at the end of next month.
Café N Play at 1767 W. Ogden Ave., suite 155, will close at the end of March when its three-year lease expires, owner Cathy Subber said.
The play zone and coffee bar has hosted 7,700 visitors, mostly kids and their moms, since it opened in April 2012.
But Subber said the business wasn't making enough money to cover rent, despite a discount from her landlord. When the landlord asked a few months ago if Subber could begin paying the full rent, she realized it was time to make a decision.
"I didn't want to take it away from the moms because they love it and it was my dream," Subber said. "But I was still losing money, even with the amount I was paying."
The cafe complements another business Subber owns, Naperville Moms Network, and members of the network are among the parents who have frequented Café N Play with their toddlers and young children. Parents such as Jeannie Coe of Naperville would make the cafe a weekly highlight.
"We would each have our time," said Coe, who has been bringing her 7-year-old son Zander and 5-year-old daughter Teagan to the cafe since it opened. "He would play, I would knit, she would have ballet."
Often packed in the morning, Subber said the facility sits nearly empty in the afternoon. Sometimes the sight of too many people in the crowded playspace turns customers away.
"If I could do it over again, I'd do it with a larger play town," Subber said.
Members can use their punch cards until the end of March, then unused passes will be good for entry at DuPage Children's Museum once it reopens in late spring.
While the closing will take away a meeting space for Naperville Moms Network members, Subber said the network itself is expanding. Members now are being accepted from Aurora, Bolingbrook, Lisle, Oswego, Plainfield and Wheaton, and Subber is seeking "Mom Coordinators" to run three events a month in each of those towns.
She also will consider reopening Café N Play in some other form. But for now, she's alerting moms and members that the facility is closing.
"There's not going to be an environment like it, I just know," Coe said. "It was a great place to decompress."