Owners of Greenvilles Organic Cat Cafe share why they closed and whats next – Spartanburg Herald Journal

Posted: March 16, 2020 at 1:49 am


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At first the plan was to move to a new location in Greenville, but within a week of announcing the move, the owners of the Organic Cat Caf decided to close for good.

Just a week and a half after they closed shop, Jennifer Bronzel and Ernesto Cardenas, who started the caf in 2018, had already begun working on a new cat caf concept, The Frisky Whisker, which they plan to open in Atlanta.

The Frisky Whisker will marry their passions for expression and healing through art and cats, passions the two said, that were never fully realized while in Greenville.

For now, Bronzel and Cardenas are spending time planning their next venture and working on a move to Atlanta, where Cardenas is from and where Bronzel also lived for a time. The 25 cats that were central to the Organic Cat Cafe have taken up temporary residence in the couple's Taylors home, where on a recent Thursday they appeared quite content.

The decision to close the Organic Cat Caf was not an easy decision, Bronzel said, but it was necessary one. While the caf had a solid backing, it never quite found a rhythm within the community, Bronzel said.

We were a cultural art space that is trying to push education of music and art through cats, said Cardenas, a known DJ in Atlanta. We feel like Greenville doesnt get that yet.

While the caf began as a more traditional coffee shop that just happened to have 20-plus live-in cats, last year Bronzel and Cardenas decided to make some changes. They added a bar with beer and wine and incorporated art that included regular Deejaying, politically expressive installations and meditation and yoga.

But things never quite caught on, they said.

All the things we wanted to do, people still saw us as just that cat place, Bronzel said. And it was the thing that you do once a year with your family.

We couldnt become that regular place.

While the two remain a bit baffled by the push back they received on what they still see as an infusion of culture and expression into their caf, they also admit that they kind of changed from the original iteration.

When the caf opened it was focused on providing a calming and enjoyable experience with cats. Bronzel, a lifelong cat lover, who moved to Greenville from her native Germany with her job, conceived the idea while visiting a cat caf overseas and she saw her adopted home as a perfect place for such a venture.

In 2017, she opened the Organic Cat Caf at 123 College St. The cafe offered coffee and an all-organic food menu, along with cat adoptions and regular community events.

Last April, Bronzel, with Cardenas, moved the caf to 928 S. Main St. They hoped the new, larger space, plus adding beer and wine and being on Main Street would bring more walk-in customers and help them reach a broader demographic.

But once baseball season ended, so did the foot traffic, they said.

Come January, Bronzel and Cardenas knew they had to change course. They considered scaling back on the collective art space idea, but ultimately, decided to follow their passion.

Greenville, they said they now realize, is a more traditional market, but they have also realized that what they want to create is not just a caf with cats, but a lounge where you can come to hear house music, enjoy art that is a bit avant garde and benefit from the calm that 25 cats can bring.

Now, they will bring that concept to Atlanta. The two are looking at possible locations within the city.

While Greenville was not the right fit for their concept, they remain grateful to the city.

Money for us is not the final purpose, Cardenas said. "Its not why I do my music, its not why I do my art. We believe in the power of art and music and cats and how it can help peoples lives, and how its helped our lives.

Thats what we want to share.

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Owners of Greenvilles Organic Cat Cafe share why they closed and whats next - Spartanburg Herald Journal

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March 16th, 2020 at 1:49 am

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