For several years, locally owned and operated Thyne’s Family Bakery has been a favorite spot for Saultites with a taste for sweet treats.
Owners DJ and Bobbi-Lee Thyne will soon be reopening the business at the former Toni’s Cakery building on Gore Street.
After operating from locations on Trunk Road, then Elgin Street, the reopened Thyne’s Family Bakery will have a separate ‘cat cafe’ section within the building.
“The upstairs has already been divided in half for the bakery part and if people wish to purchase a lunch or a coffee they can go through double doors into the cat cafe area,” DJ Thyne told SooToday.
There were some hoops to jump through to combine a food establishment with animals.
“There were some challenges getting those cats in there,” Thyne said.
“Obviously the cats can’t be near the food in the kitchen so we had to put up double doors to separate that area from the cat cafe.
Algoma Public Health was wonderful to work with.
They laid out what we had to have done, making sure there was a clean environment for both the cats, a space big enough for the cats which is why we did multi levels in there as well, and also to be able to keep the bakery separate from that.”
“It was a bit of a challenge but definitely doable for what the benefits are.”
The idea is not for customers to bring their own cats, but for cats on site to be adopted.
“There will be sponsored animals from TAAG or SPCA, primarily TAAG. You can come and have your coffee or your dessert in the separate cat cafe section. We’ll have games and books there. You can just relax and hang out with the cats. Hopefully people will adopt them. They’re going to be all adoptable on the premises and hopefully we’ll find them all nice homes,” Thyne said.
The baker emphasized the cat cafe will be separated from the rest of the business.
“Customers won’t come into contact with cats if they have allergies, and even ourselves as the bakers won’t be allowed to go into the cat cafe and come back into the bakery section unless there’s an emergency. We’ll have a volunteer that works in that room all the time. They can’t come in to the kitchen and we can’t go into that room unless there’s an emergency.”
The cat cafe will be the only one of its kind in the Sault, Thyne said, stating the closest other cat cafe that he knows of is in Port Hope, Ontario.
“When we were traveling in Ohio we went to a cat cafe and it was just a wonderful experience and a wonderful idea all around. We figured we had the space to do it and we always wanted to do something to help animals. My daughter does paintings and donates the money from the sale of the paintings to TAAG.”
DJ and Bobbi-Lee Thyne have been busy renovating the building.
“There are going to be a few different things involved. We were starting to get really well known for birthday parties before COVID happened. It was something we really enjoyed doing,” DJ said.
“We have an entire rec hall in the basement of the building so that’s all set up to go for birthdays. We’re also looking at doing more adult themed events as well. There is a bar down there, so if we can get that licensed we’ll look into that as well.”
“It looks nice.”
The Thynes have reached out on Facebook looking for input as to what to call the cat cafe.
DJ said he likes ‘Purrista’ – a combination of purr and barista.
“’Caturday’ seems to be high up in the rankings. I’m not getting very far with my ‘Purrista,’” Thyne chuckled.
‘Cattitude Cafe’ is another favourite.
The Thynes plan on opening “as soon as possible,” DJ said.
“We’ve been approved with our floor plan by APH already. We’re just doing some last minute touches and then we’ll be pretty much ready to go. We’re hoping to open up for birthday parties next month and hopefully have everything else going by the end of next month as well.”
It’s anticipated the reopened Thyne’s Family Bakery on Gore Street will operate five – maybe six – days a week, though the cats’ needs will be taken care of seven days a week.
“The bakery has opened up a lot of doors for us to meeting new people, forming bonds and friendships with many other businesses in the city. We’re able to cater to people’s specific needs such as dietary restrictions and things like that. We like to help people out,” DJ said.
“The cat cafe part is important because there isn’t enough help for the animals. As many cats as we can get adopted, the better it is for everybody.”