FieldHaven opens marketplace, 'catfe' in downtown LincolnBy: Steve Archer, Reporter
Coffee and shopping and cats.
Put the three together and it is the newly-opened FieldHaven Marketplace, located at 454 F St., in downtown Lincoln.
In addition to vintage, antique and up cycled merchandise, the FieldHaven Marketplace also has a so-called “catfe” – a café with cats – on the premises. Champy’s Catfe offers coffee, hot drinks and Wi-Fi as well as adoptable cats.
The catfe is named after Champy, FieldHaven’s ambassador cat.
Leslie Clark, the FieldHaven Marketplace manager and catfe designer, said the new venture has something for everyone.
“We are creating a unique, multi-purpose environment for the community to shop, relax with a coffee or tea, catch up with a friend and meet some great cats all in one place,” Clark said. “There is no other place like it in California.”
The FieldHaven Marketplace and Champy’s Catfe occupy the Quonset hut that was formerly the Salt Mine thrift store.
Reba Miller, a former FieldHaven board member, said the new business is “marvelous.”
“It’s amazing what they did here. I’m just thrilled to death for them,” Miller said. “It’s just a wonderful organization. This will provide funds so they can continue to do their work and save more cats.”
Joy Smith, president and executive director of FieldHaven Feline Center, a cat rescue organization located in rural Lincoln, said she shared “some special time” in Champy’s Catfe with the adoptable cats the night before the store opened.
“Thursday night (Nov. 19), I had a slumber party with cats,” Smith said. “I think they felt better that we spent their first night here with them.”
Smith said plenty of work went into the building before she could sleep on the floor of the catfe with Champy and friends.
“Oct. 1, we took over the building,” Smith said. “It took us about seven weeks and it was a lot of work. We have 1,800 square feet and 3,500 square feet of retail space. We are the biggest retail space downtown.”
Opening night, Smith said, was a success.
“Friday night (Nov. 20), from 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., we did 39 transactions; some were multiple item sales and more than 40 people visited the store,” Smith said. “We are off to a good start and it’s all for the cats. It’s all about the cats.”
All proceeds from the FieldHaven Marketplace go to local cat-saving programs.
Smith added that there are less than 20 catfes in the country.
“It’s an up-and-coming thing,” Smith said. “The first opened in Oakland last year. Every time one opens, the cat world celebrates. Japan has had them for years.”
Champy’s Catfe, located inside the marketplace, offers Roger’s Family Coffee for a donation.
The marketplace also has a community room and a pet food pantry.
“With the pet food pantry, we can distribute pet food to low-income people and the homeless and people who have difficulty feeding cats,” Smith said. “All the pet food is donated by local stores and individuals. We’re all about cats but we are all about community as well.
“We wanted to provide a place the community can come if you have questions about cats or cat problems; we have resources,” Smith added. “There are three community cats in the neighborhood that we feed. All around the city, we have community cats.”
Smith said the marketplace and catfe can still use some help.
“We always need volunteers, especially with donations coming in,” Smith said. “This space allows us to take larger items that we didn’t have room for at the other store, Snap It Up.”
Smith said she wants to work with all the vendors and businesses in town.
“Our business is a fund-raising effort for cats,” Smith said. “Our goal is a home for every cat in Lincoln. And I know in my heart it is achievable.”
Smith said she also wants to “provide services for people so they can keep their cats.”
“This is a cool place to shop and it has cats,” Smith said. “You don’t have to be an animal lover to appreciate what we do.”