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Due to low revenue, Bryan's cat cafe is on its 9th life

H&J's Tea House may be going out of business
Posted at 9:56 PM, Aug 31, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-31 22:56:52-04

BRYAN, Texas — This week marks the one year anniversary of H&J's Tea House cat cafe in Bryan, and unfortunately, low profits may cause the business to shut its doors within a few weeks.

Nataliia Sviazinska and Sasha Korostyshevskyi, two Texas A&M graduate students from Ukraine, were excited to visit H&J's on Wednesday. They are currently unable to keep cats at their own apartments, and coming to this tea house serves a purpose greater than just providing a good boba.

“You know how there are service animals?" Sviazinska pointed out. "My understanding is every animal is a little bit of a service animal because they help to relax you.”

“I still have a cat back home, my parents still have her," shared Korostyshevskyi. "I was probably like 10 or 11 years old when they got her... For me this is an opportunity to interact with cats, because I love cats.”

While the cat cafe has brought joy to customers like them and provided a home for rescues and retired show cats, things are looking grim for the future of H&J's, as the company shared publicly through their Facebook page, asking the community for support.

"Beforehand we were doing fine," shared Olivia Burnett, cafe manager. "It’s not a profitable thing. All we have to do is break even. But as soon as summer hit, we weren’t making enough revenue to make rent.”

Burnett is a TAMU undergraduate student. Most of the employees of the cafe are Aggie or Blinn College students, she said. But the business relies on local college students for more than just staffing.

“I think a lot of [the problem] is just that we’re in a college town, and summer is going to be more difficult because not everyone stays in town," Burnett said.

She noted that marketing and word-of-mouth might have been better had the business advertised more directly as being a 'cat cafe,' a place where patrons can enjoy tea and pet animals.

The business has picked back up recently, and employees hope to bring in interest with profit shares. If H&J's closes soon, however, the animals will be split up, Burnett said – some rehomed, some adopted by staff, and some returned to their breeders.

Now, they have to hope that more customers will come.