Photos: First Week at Catitude Cat Cafe
PHOTOS AND WORDS BY SEAN RAYFORD
University of South Carolina grad Andres Ortega had a nice job in corporate America. That is, until he and his girlfriend Maria Garcia took a trip in the drive-thru of the Sonic on Assembly St.
“When we were ordering we saw homeless kitties there. It was on of those cold, wet, rainy days in Columbia and we felt heartbroken that there was very little that we could do.” says Ortega.
The next day he drove into his work headquarters, turned in his ID card and his keys to the company car and told his employer that he was opening a cat cafe. “They had a look of shock on their face. I kinda just ran out the door, hopped in the car and left.”
Last Friday morning when Ortega pulled out his keys to unlock the front door of Catitude Cat Cafe there were about twenty folks waiting for the business to open for the first time. He fumbled them and knelt down in front of Garcia on the West Columbia sidewalk and proposed. She said yes and they had about 45 seconds before getting down to business.
“We have definitely tied our entire lives into this business so I feel it was a great way to show our customers our lives and to welcome them.” says Garcia who is also a current student at USC.
The cafe, located in the former spot of Cafe Strudel next to New Brookland, gives folks an opportunity grab some coffee and decompress with more than a dozen cats in the second story of the building. Most of the cats are available for adoption and there is an hourly fee for the kitty floor.
WHY OPEN A CAT CAFE IN WEST COLUMBIA?
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