Pet businesses, bakery open in Conway | New
Gibson’s Cat Cafe
Shelby and Drew Blacksmith took their love of coffee and cats to create Gibson’s Cat Cafe, opening later this year at 808 Court St. in downtown Conway.
So what is a cat cafe? At Gibson, it will be half cafe and half chat room. Shelby said those looking for a caffeine fix are welcome to come by for all regular coffee offerings – lattes, macchiatos, etc. “It will be a great place to study, and we hope to have a small stage for live music on the weekends,” she added.
For those who want to spend time with cats, the other half of the room will house cats and kittens for adoption. A small entrance fee will be charged for those who want to play with the cats, and maybe even take one home that day! “We will be working with multiple animal shelters across the state,” Shelby said.
About 20 cats will be on the site, with 17 positions in the state open for cats to adopt. The remaining three spots will be reserved for out-of-state cats that are on imminent euthanasia lists. The application process for adopting a cat can be done the day of your visit. “The Neighborhood Pet Shoppe is nearby, so adopters can go to the store and stock up, then come back and bring their cat home,” Shelby said. “All cats will be microchipped, neutered and up to date on plans.”
Why did blacksmiths choose this type of business? “We love cats and have always wanted to own a small business. We saw a video on social media and saw that cat cafes are popular in Asia. I thought ‘we could do that in Arkansas’,” Shelby said. For a birthday trip, the smiths visited a cat cafe in Branson, MO, and the owners were very helpful. They are particularly happy to be in the city center easily accessible on foot.
At this point, Gibson’s Cat Cafe is still in the works, with some upcoming cosmetic changes and ordering cafe items. The grand opening is scheduled for September 24.
One thing that is confirmed is the name of the company – lovingly named for Shelby’s cat, Gibson. Gibson showed up at her house during a blizzard in 2021. “He was outside wandering around. I took him in and he’s been ours ever since,” she said. “Cats are emotional support for me.” A special addition to the Cat Cafe will be a Rainbow Bridge mural where customers can hang the collars of their deceased pets on the wall.
The smiths, who are still in the newlywed phase of their marriage, said they love the people of Conway and intend to make Gibson “a safe space and a place where the community comes to call home. , feeling loved and making new friends. September can’t come soon enough!”
For more information about the cafe and to show your support for their efforts, you are welcome to visit their Indiegogo page at www. indiegogo.com/projects/gibson-s-cat-cafe#/. When the Indiegogo campaign ends in a few weeks, the Café will release a website and continue to share information on Instagram and Facebook.
The lot that barks
A new business that caters to the canine members of your family opened May 2 on Highway 64, east of Conway.
The Barking Lot is owned by Bethany Hurley and Dawn Fryar, “two local girls from Conway who are making our dreams come true”. The company offers daycare, boarding, spa services and play areas specially designed for puppies and older dogs.
“We have both worked with dogs for a long time and we love dogs so much. It’s an idea we’ve had for years. It turned out that we were both ready to step in and start this dream,” Bethany said.
At The Barking Lot, the daycare option is designed for “parents who don’t want their dogs left alone all day, or who simply need a safe and fun environment for their dogs during the day.” Half-day and full-day packages are available.
If you’re leaving town for a trip and your dog needs a place to land, The Barking Lot offers premium dog vacations. Additionally, baths and blowouts are offered in the spa services section of The Barking Lot.
Age is just a number at The Barking Lot. Young puppies and older dogs can find a place to hang out with friends. You can find socialization for your puppy, aged 10 to 18 weeks. A cozy and quiet space at The Barking Lot is perfect for older dogs who might want some alone time or don’t have a high energy level to play.
Bethany Hurley has lived in Conway for 22 years, is a graduate of Conway High School, and “is beyond excited to add this service to the town.” She has four personal dogs who are considered family members, as well as her husband and three children.
Dawn Fryar has lived in Conway for 17 years and calls it home. She and her husband have five personal dogs that accompany them everywhere.
“We decided that the east side of town (we both live that way) could use this service, so we stumbled upon the location and jumped in headfirst,” Bethany said. “We renovated in about six weeks. We want to love your dogs like we love ours!
And perhaps the icing on the cake for Conway’s businesses is the long-awaited news that Crumbl Cookies opened on Friday. A Facebook post said the business would be open from 8 a.m. to midnight Friday at 1110 S. Amity Road in the Lewis Crossing Mall. For more information, visit Crumbl.com/arconway.