(Center) Christine Cozza from 4 Paws Rescue Team brings a couple of kittens to the future site of Meows Corner, a cat café in Herndon. Dina Abdel-Hamid of Herndon, owner of Meows Corner, and her daughter Mariam Hawa, 8, are excited as the build-out of Meows Corner nears completion.
Photo by Mercia Hobson.
One of the hottest animal business trends in the last decade is coming to the heart of historic downtown Herndon, the cat café. Although every cat café has its own personality, think traditional coffee and tea shop crossed with a rescue cat adoption center.
Whether one is interested in possibly adopting a cat or needs some kitty cuddle time, Meows Corner is out to improve the lives of rescued cats up for adoption and people who enjoy a kitty-centric environment.
The final build-out for Meows Corner at 702 Elden Street is coming together. The shop is part of a newly constructed mixed-use development built by Tradition Homes and McWilliams Ballard in downtown Herndon. The open house signs are up for the townhomes and the retail spaces are nearing completion. The community has a reported 2,500 square feet of storefronts along Elden and 3000 square feet of office and retail at the corner of Lynn Street.
MEOWS CORNER is due to open this fall and is the brainchild and dream of animal and coffee lover Dina Abdel-Hamid of Herndon. On her Facebook page, Abdel-Hamid posts that she grew up in a house full of animals but her dreams of being a vet never materialized. Instead, she entered the corporate world and married a man who is allergic to cats so no kitties in her home.
Abdel-Hamid first learned of the business concept when visiting Richmond. There she spied a cat lounging in a shop window, and upon going in, Abdel-Hamid learned of the cat café model. She fell in love with the idea. On her Facebook page, Abdel-Hamid retells the light-bulb moment: “You mean I can play with cats that are being rescued and drink coffee!” Apparently, these are two of Abdel-Hamid's favorite things under one roof. "A dream come true," she posts.
Abdel-Hamid created a business plan for her cat café. She located the site on Elden Street then partnered with Elden Street Tea Shop two doors down to provide the drinks and snacks. Meows Corner will not prepare the food or drinks in-house. "We will have runners delivering the orders from the tea shop," explained Abdel-Hamid. Next, she partnered with 4 PAWS Animal Rescue, a nonprofit community-based all-volunteer organization that will provide the adoptable cats and kittens.
As for the café’s name, Meows Corner, in an interview, Abdel-Hamid said she had many names on the table but chose the name Meows Corner with the help of her children. "I let my kids vote, and it just felt right."
Health regulations and restrictions will not impede the café’s ability to have the cats and food products in the same area. Abdel-Hamid learned regulations and restrictions pertain to food and drink preparation, not serving.
"The café will charge patrons a cover rate to enter and be with cats." If patrons fall in love with a kitty, application forms to adopt the cat through 4 Paws Rescue Team will be available on-site for them to submit. Abdel-Hamid cautioned that while walk-ins will be welcomed, space is limited. Patrons are encouraged to reserve visit time to avoid having to wait.
In addition to walk-ins and reserved times for individuals, groups can rent the entire space for private parties. The café also plans to have special events such as Kit-TEA, Poetry and Yoga. Books and merchandise will be available for purchase.
TO INQUIRE about the cats pictured in this story, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Meows Corner, visit meowscorner.com.