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We can all agree, it’s a weird time. Restaurants, bars, movie theaters, stores and other businesses were forced to close and, for the past month or so, we’ve had to entertain ourselves at home. But things will return to normal, and, when they do, there are some fun, new local businesses for Raleighites to look forward to.
Purr Cup Cafe
210 Prospect Avenue
Projected opening: Spring 2020
Sarah Newton and Arthur Hailey got the idea to open a cat cafe in the City of Oaks following a visit to Kawaii Kitty Cafe in Philadelphia.
“From the moment we entered the cat lounge there, we felt something special,” Newton says. “It feels like an escape from normal life. Sitting in a room full of cats is peaceful and fun at the same time.”
The couple wants to help others experience the joy of being around cats and kittens and help get cats adopted into forever homes where they’ll be cared for and loved. All adoptable cats will come from SAFE Haven for Cats, a no-kill shelter and low-cost clinic that rescues cats from harmful situations.
“The more cats we can get adopted, the more cats they can pull out of shelters and save,” Newtown says.
Newton and Hailey say Purr Cup Cafe will be a place where they hope all will feel welcome, with a Drag Queen Story Hour, events for Raleigh Pride and collaborations with other local organizations. Groups can host meet-ups and events and cafe visitors can choose to come in for a cup of coffee, hang out with adoptable cats, enjoy an event or do all three—though there is a $10 fee to enter the cat room.
“We are super excited to open our doors,” Newton says. “People have been supporting us since day one and we can’t wait to welcome them for a magical experience.”
3501 Spring Forest Road
Projected opening: Early summer 2020
OnPoint CEO Houck Reed grew up shooting guns as a social activity with his friends and family. He says he noticed the gun ranges he’d been to over the years felt intimidating, especially to women and young people, and thought there had to be a better way to approach the business. With OnPoint, Reed says he hopes to establish a space that will make all people feel comfortable, whether or not they’re serious shooters.
“The sport of shooting, it’s a fun thing to do,” Reed says. “[At OnPoint, people] can feel safe and they can have fun.”
OnPoint will consist of two main experiences—a live-fire range and “challenge house” that will offer world-class training and entertaining shooting experiences, including games and mission and drill scenarios, that guests can participate in individually or as groups.
The interactive, laser-based, live-gaming environments are similar to laser tag or indoor paintball. OnPoint’s state-of-the-art technology makes it the most advanced shooting range in the world, Reed says.
Additionally, OnPoint will offer a firearms training curriculum for beginners through advanced shooters so guests can learn basic gun safety and develop their skills. OnPoint’s first Raleigh location will also feature a lounge with a cafe and bar.
“We’ve created an environment where you can just enjoy being there,” Reed says. “We took out the dark and scary [atmosphere] of a lot of ranges and made [the sport of shooting] a fun and inviting experience.”
111 Seaboard Avenue, Suite 116
Projected opening: 2020
Former journalist Michael Bell launched the original Hunky Dory, a combo bar, lounge and music store, in Durham in 2010. For Raleigh, Bell says he envisions Hunky Dory as a more polished space located in the original home of BREW Coffee Bar in Seaboard Station.
Bell repurposed the coffee shop’s bench seats into record shelves and will showcase more records on the walls. Additionally, Bell saved BREW’s bar to house 12 taps for North Carolina-sourced beers including, mainly, IPAs—Bell’s favorite—but also local sours, ciders, pilsners and lagers.
Bell says Hunky Dory’s Raleigh record collection will grow around what Raleigh customers bring in to sell.
“[Raleigh and Durham] are 30 miles apart but they have a very different taste in music,” Bell says. “In Durham, they’ve got jazz, blues, rock and roll. What’s it going to be in Raleigh? What are they passionate about?”
Aside from beer and music, Hunky Dory’s existing store is known for its quirky T-shirts with Durham’s signature bull incorporated into different music-themed designs—think of Ziggy Stardust’s lighting bolt superimposed on a bull image. The Raleigh store will also sell T-shirts with the City of Oaks’ acorn instead.
As in Durham, Bell says the Raleigh location will evolve with what customers want.
“Raleigh has a lot of potential and I think [Hunky Dory] will be well received,” Bell says. “Records and beer—it’s a good combo. Adding another place with a really great vibe is going to be good.”
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