Resiliency of ALX: Mount Purrnon

By Kristin Cowan, Owner

By Kristin Cowan, Owner

When we decided to open a cat café in Old Town, we expected there would be challenges. Since our business is a nuanced concept, there aren’t any specific guidelines for cat café permits and requirements. For two years, we worked on raising money, developing a business plan, finding the perfect location (that was zoned correctly and would allow a startup with 20 cats), and getting special permits from the city and state. We could never have predicted that a worldwide pandemic would occur and make everything significantly more difficult. We had originally planned to open in March 2020, but obviously with the world the way it was, that was not an option. When we finally opened on August 1, 2020, we did so with limited capacity, limited food and drink options, and fewer funds (we still had to pay rent while the opening was delayed and Old Town rent is not cheap). As a business that depends on people coming in the door, guidelines encouraging people to NOT gather indoors have kept business slower than anticipated. Additionally, we have not been eligible to receive any federal assistance including PPP as we opened after the pandemic began (obviously not by choice!).

Through all of the struggle, we have remained dedicated to our mission: saving cats and making people happy.

Through all of the struggle, we have remained dedicated to our mission: saving cats and making people happy. To date, we have adopted out 128 cats and saved twice as many from euthanasia. We have seen so many animals come from horrible situations, some of whom had never felt love or had a gentle pet from a human. We have seen shy cats turn to social, lap cats. We have seen senior cats have a second chance at life. Even if we never reach the level of business that we hoped for pre-pandemic, we are happy that we have made a difference in the lives of animals and the humans that visit them or adopt. We hope that we can push to the other side of the pandemic and continue with our mission.

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VIP Alexandria Magazine is proud to present The Resiliency Issue. Featuring small business COVID-19 success stories, as told by the owners who lived in it, learned to pivot + survived.

You can read all of our Resiliency Stories in our digital issue HERE.