Wake Smith secures purrfect job

Sheffield's first cat café opens in August with help from Wake Smith.

Tabby Teas Cat Café on Cemetery Road, off London Road, will give coffee lovers the chance to enjoy some feline company with their cappuccinos.

Wake Smith advised on the lease for the new 1000 sq ft café on behalf of landlords Jon and Patrick Yeardley of Sheffield Property To Let, which owns commercial and residential sites across the city.

Now café entrepreneur Charlotte Pickering and partner Michael Leviston will staff the venue and are putting the finishing touches to the 30 seater café, having already re-homed 10 cats which are coming from animal rescue shelters across the city.

Cat cafés have been increasingly popular over the last couple of years, popping up in London, Bristol, Newcastle and Manchester. Now, the Steel City will have one of its own.

Charlotte said: “We identified a gap in the market with large numbers of city dwellers unable to have pets of their own due to living in rented accommodation, small flats or financial constraints. There’s also students who have to leave their family homes and pets.

“The café will provide a place where cat lovers can stroke the roaming felines while drinking their coffee and also learn about keeping animals.

"We tried to figure out a solution where the cats don’t get stressed out, which is why we’ve introduced an online booking system for time slots and have built a cat only area at the back of the café.

“That way, people come in and stay for an allocated amount of time, meaning we control the number of guests in the building and allow the cats a little more time to get used to people.”

Charlotte hopes to have a team of seven staff working in the café, which has undergone a full refurbishment from an empty shell, and even includes a cat jungle and chill out zones for her feline friends.

She added: “Everything we have done has the cats' best interests at heart. I am an animal lover and I want to make sure everything is right for the cats. I’ve contacted various local shelters advice and will have strict rules for visitors so we don’t upset the cats.”

Tom Weightman, solicitor in Wake Smith's commercial property division, said: “We were really pleased to be able to advise on the lease requirements for the landlord. The lease had to be specialised to reflect the proposed use of the premises but everything went very smoothly.”

Jon Yeardley added: “This is an innovative use for one of our properties and we are delighted that Wake Smith sorted out any peculiar lease requirements without any problems. We wish Charlotte success, she is incredibly enthusiastic about this project.”

Tabby Teas opens from 1 August from Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 7pm. For further details visit www.tabbyteas.co.uk

Photo caption: Tom Weightman, Jon Yeardley and Charlotte Pickering at Tabby Teas

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