While stationed in South Korea with the US Army, Kirt and Krystne Wilson were inspired by the play café concept – a clean, safe space for families (not full of loud arcade games) that allowed parents to relax while their children played. When they returned to their hometown of Kokomo, they lamented the absence of a play café option. While Kirt pursued training in pipefitting and Krystyne studied to be a RN, they raised their children and contemplated how they could open a play café business. After they completed their degrees and had a third child, they were again acutely aware of the need for a community space to accommodate both older and younger children. To test the interest in the idea, they began engaging the community online to determine if others desired the kind of space they wanted to create. The response was resoundingly positive, and they set out to bring a long-time dream to reality and open Sweet Peas Play Café, an innovative coffee shop for adults and imaginative indoor play space for children. The Wilsons were introduced to Hoosier Heartland Indiana SBDC through the Greater Kokomo Chamber of Commerce. They attended an Indiana SBDC business planning workshop and met with business advisors Lita Rouser and Monty Henderson to create a business plan and hone their mission and pitch in preparation for the first Drive Pitch Competition, sponsored by the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance. Sweet Peas Play Café is now open, and Kirt and Krystne continue to seek ways to expand their ability to serve customers, including expanding food offerings and partnering with DoorDash to reach a larger coffee drinking market. They continue to work with the Indiana SBDC to build their brand, educate the community on their mission, and plan for future expansion.
Aug 21st, 2023
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