Small Business Spotlight: Bumble Brews

Owner Blair Byrnside sips a drink from the full-service coffee bar at Bumble Brews Play Café as children enjoy the open play space.

Blair Byrnside, the owner of Bumble Brews Play Café in Cary, knows how it feels to scour the area for accessible family-friendly activities that are fun for kids and adults alike.

“We always found ourselves driving to downtown Raleigh, North Raleigh, Durham, or Fuquay-Varina,” said Byrnside. “We were not blessed with children that love car rides, so a 20- to 30-minute drive was pretty much always a disaster.”

With the amount of young families in the area experiencing the same struggle, Byrnside dreamed up a solution — an indoor play space and cafe serving specialty coffees, beer, wine, juices, water and re-packaged snack foods.

Tiny tots are encouraged to play and explore while parents finish a hot coffee or meet a friend for drinks on the weekend.

Since opening its doors in September 2020, Bumble Brews primarily offers open play, birthday parties and special events. The play space is designed for children aged 6 months to 6 years, but older siblings and parents are welcome to join in the fun. The open floor plan, private rooms, and full-service coffee bar (plus beer and wine) allows for a variety of other events, including adults-only trivia nights, private proms, baby showers, family yoga, book signings, and more.

“We’ve worked hard to create a community feel in our space, which we think is important as well,” said Byrnside. “Having really young kids can be very isolating, and we have many families that come almost every day because they have found a sense of community with us. It’s really a beautiful thing to see moms swapping phone numbers and sometimes passing babies back and forth as they create a support system here.”

What inspired Bumble Brews?

I learned firsthand over the last few years that there aren’t nearly enough indoor play spaces for little kids. You can find the big bounce house places or trampoline parks, but toddlers get trampled in those types of parks. Museums can also be overwhelming for little kids and their parents. I simply wanted to create the space I wish had existed as a parent with little kids — somewhere they can play safely, and I can take a moment to finish a hot coffee or meet a friend for a drink on the weekend.

What made you want to work for yourself?

I worked for a large IT company doing government contract work for close to a decade in human resources and later in finance. While I had some really great colleagues, I found I just didn’t care about the work I was doing. I felt like a cog in the corporate machine. With Bumble Brews, I saw a community need and decided to take a chance. Bumble Brews suits my life so well right now with young daughters (who, by the way, think it’s really cool that mom knows all the princesses). But an added bonus is that I get to hear firsthand how excited families are to be here. It certainly hasn’t been easy, but it’s been incredibly rewarding. I love that I’ve created something that allows me to combine all my favorite things: my family, party hosting, crafts, and craft beer.

From slides and climbers to puzzles on the floor, Bumble Brews is designed to entertain children from 6 months to 6 years (but it’s fun and safe for everyone)!

What has been the best, or most surprising, aspect of owning a business?

One thing that sort of surprised me is that I’m never really off the clock. I expected to work long hours, but I don’t think I realized that there’s always something that needs attention. Especially since I don’t have any partners, there is nobody else to provide those solutions. On the flipside of that, it is extremely rewarding being the person responsible for creating a space that families love. I get thanked personally every day for creating Bumble Brews, which is pretty amazing.

What is the most popular event that you’ve hosted?

I would say our most popular event is Santa. We have hosted Santa visits and play time for the last two years, and it has just been incredible. What families love about it is that the kids get to play while waiting for Santa, rather than going to a mall where you stand in line for ages. You also have a scheduled appointment time so you can plan around nap schedules. With limited tickets, the kids get extra time with Santa and even end up going back again and again to tell him things they forgot the first time, or maybe if they were too shy the first time. It’s also a nice touch that you can grab a hot cocoa or mimosa on your Santa visit.

What do you love about owning a business in Cary?

I’ve met a lot of wonderful and diverse people. Cary is such a melting pot of people from all over, and I feel like it creates a very accepting and inclusive environment. Also, even though the Town of Cary is growing, it does a really great job of supporting local. The support from the community, customers, and other local businesses has just been amazing, and we try to pay it forward by carrying local products, sponsoring local events, and promoting local businesses.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *