North Texas Daily

University freshman looks to bring feline-friendly cafe to Denton

University freshman looks to bring feline-friendly cafe to Denton

University freshman looks to bring feline-friendly cafe to Denton
April 28
12:57 2023

Denton is no stranger to beverage-based restaurants. From coffee shops to juice bars, Dentonites have a number of local options, with no need to stray far to quench their thirst.

Despite the variety, one thing is lacking amongst the myriad of drink places — cats.

Mark Crissan, university new media and studio art freshman, is looking to bring a boba tea cat cafe to the campus area.

“I honestly just really love cats — I have one of my own, and […] I’ve always liked the idea of a cat cafe,” Crissan said.

On March 30, The Bubble Cat Cafe’s Instagram page uploaded its first post, featuring concept logo art, a concept sign and slogan. Since then, the page has reached nearly 600 followers and continues to grow its audience.

Crissan came up with the idea a year ago as a Prosper High School senior. The Frisco native envisions a bright, colorful shop with cat-focused furniture and decor inspired by his love of felines.

In January, Crissan and his girlfriend, Denton resident Sthefany Martinez, started taking the idea seriously. While still taking classes at the university, Crissan has began to seek out a space near campus with the help of a realtor. He said he ideally wants to open the space on Fry Street or Eagle Drive, but has also looked at spaces downtown around the Square.

“Seeing [the business] come to life, like when I first saw the concept sketches, it was just so awesome,” Crissan said. “Being able to see this thing that I could only visualize, now being able to see a physical rendition was amazing. I am excited to see it actually come to life.”

While he does not have previous business experience, Crissan said he is confident in his ability to start and run the restaurant. 

Funding for the cat cafe will come from a business loan Crissan hopes to receive, as well as fundraising from the community. Small fliers with details about the cat cafe and a QR code with a link to a GoFundMe campaign are currently scattered around campus, downtown and the Fry Street area. Crissan also plans to have more interactive fundraising events, such as a raffle and movie night.

Concept sketch of the cafe room for The
Bubble Cat Cafe. Sketch provided by The
Bubble Cat Cafe Instagram.

Several students at the university learned about the effort to open the restaurant through these fliers, including university consumer experience management junior Annalise Lake.

Lake noticed one of the fundraising fliers on a bulletin board outside a class in the University Art Building. She said she usually does not pay attention to the board, but the brightly colored flier caught her eye. She plans to donate to the GoFundMe campaign.

“I really like cats and boba, so much that I made the drive to Lewisville to visit the Charming Cat Cafe in the [Music City Mall],” Lake said. “Having this in Denton would be my go-to study spot because I think the cats could be very therapeutic for me.”

Unlike the Charming Cat Cafe, which allows visitors to adopt cats they see in the store, cats at the Bubble Cat Cafe would be owned by Crissan and Martinez and live in the store. 

“We don’t want to do adoption for a few different reasons,” Crissan said. “For one, every time you get a new cat, it’s a process making sure the cat is going to be okay with people, the other cats and, for the cat, that’s just hard. We plan to get [our cats] from adoption centers […] and I’m planning on fostering too. Our cats won’t be adoptable, but I still really want to use our business to spread more awareness.”

Even though adoption will not always be available, Crissan hopes to partner with local shelters to host adoption events similar to those held at pet stores. Martinez and Crissan said they are enthusiastic about the prospect of hosting other social events at the cafe as well.

“I am excited to put events together and have people come out and have fun with them,” Martinez said. “I want to do a bingo night or maybe a weekly movie night in the cafe area. It depends on how big our space will be.”

Crissan estimates the business will be open in around six months. For now, he still plans to be a full-time student during the coming fall semester. However, if the business picks up, he will likely switch to doing school part-time to invest more time into the cafe.

Concept sketch of the cafe room for The Bubble Cat Cafe. Sketch provided by The Bubble Cat Cafe Instagram

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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