We are truly grateful for everything we have been blessed with here at Adore Hair Studio, and that’s why we choose to give back to our community every year for the holidays in the form of some kind of local outreach. This year something a little different caught our eye, in the shape of a fun café with a big impact on the local community – humans and animals alike! Java Cats is a local café located in Grant Park right across from the historical Oakland Cemetery. A gorgeous big hearted young woman named Hadyn Hilton (Shout out to a fellow girl boss!) started a donation fund towards her dream earlier this year, and soon enough Java Cats blossomed right before our eyes.
Java Cats is partnered with a local no-kill shelter named PAWS, The Gathering – an Atlanta based non-profit towards the re-generation of homeless and one of the top coffee distributers in Atlanta – Ebrik. Java Cats is a fun location where you can give back to the community by simply petting cute kitties and sipping amazing coffee.
Throughout the month of December, we are accepting food/toy/treat/litter donations for Java Cats at both Adore locations – but feel free to donate towards PAWS, or The Gathering directly! We got a chance to ask Hadyn a few questions about herself, and her company – and thought sharing would be fun.
What inspired you to start this company?
My love for cats! I was a film major in my senior year at GSU when I came across the cat café concept for this first time. To me, it sounded like my dream job, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it! I’ve always loved animals, especially cats, and after seeing how many adoptions other cat cafés around the country were increasing, I just knew I would be so fulfilled helping sweet felines. I dropped out of school and left my job of two years, to pursue my dream.
Do you have any pets of your own?
I currently have three cats; one was “accidentally” adopted from Java Cats this year and two dogs- both rescues!
What’s your sign? I’m a cancer.
What are the most rewarding moments? And the most difficult?
The most rewarding part of this job is taking part in cats finding homes. Many cats that come in have sad stories or were pulled from being euthanized. Seeing them find a second chance at life is the best feeling ever. The most difficult moments for me revolve around running the actual business. Since I have no business background, learning the ins and outs of running a business has been such a learning curve! I always have to look into different subjects and teach myself how to do things such as paying all the different business taxes and other not so fun stuff is my least favorite part.
What are some other charities or nonprofits that you work with or spark your interest?
We work with The Gathering Industries for all of our food such as cookies, snack packs, scones, and granola bars. The Gathering employs the Atlanta homeless and teaches them culinary skills so that they can find jobs in the restaurant industry. We also work with a farmer named Maurice Smalls. He comes in twice a week to pick up coffee grounds we set aside for him, and he turns the grounds into compost to grow organic produce for underprivileged communities around Atlanta.
Are there any struggles with the in-shop cats not getting along or misbehaving?
We strategically close at 5 pm on Mondays, because that is when Paws brings us new lounge cats! We give them the space they need without a bunch of people in the room, to get all of the hissing out of their system. The majority of the time the cats all get along, and it’s awesome! The cat lounge was designed and custom built by a cat behavioral specialist to keep territorial issues at a minimum!
Are all cats neutered and up to date on shots?
Yes! All cats that are in the lounge have all their shots, are fixed, and have a microchip!
Where do most of these cats come from?
All cats come from Paws Atlanta! Because we charge admission to enter the lounge that goes towards our fostering costs, 100% of the adoption fees go right back to the shelter!
Tell us a little bit about PAWS.
Paws is Georgia’s oldest no-kill animal shelter. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with every single person at Paws. The Paws staff feels family because we have to communicate so frequently about adoption and cat stuff!
What products, brands for animals are you loyal to?
We rely on donations for our can food such as Friskies for the kitties! They are obsessed. However, I don’t think we could go a day without Temptation crunchy treats! We also love any litter or litter additive that uses Arm & Hammer products!
Pet peeves with employees and customers?
I think my biggest pet peeve with customers would be when a customer gets angry about the admission price for the lounge or questions it. Or when the lounge is full, and a customer tries to argue about going in regardless. As for pet peeve with employees, I honestly have a truly wonderful team right now. I have had a fair share of issues with employees, as any business will have, but I take it as an opportunity to grow!
How did you choose this space/ location?
It took me about five months to find a location. I would find potential locations but would either run into the problem of the concept being a cat café or being a female that realtors didn’t take seriously. I had my husband call locations because the door would open immediately with him just being a male on the call. I experienced sexism at its best during the location searching process! I finally found the Grant Park location, and it was in terrible shape, but the landlord liked the concept and was the only one I found that did. So the answer was made for me!
Do you plan on opening more locations?
Yes. I would love to open a location outside the perimeter. When the timing is right, and funding is there, I hope to see a Java Cats 2 in the future!
Where do you get your coffee from?
I have a partnership with Ebrik Coffee Room, and they curate our coffee until they start roasting their own. For now, we serve coffee from Land of a Thousand Hills. Ebrik Coffee Room believed in my dream and took me under their wing for seven months to train me.
What kinds of things do you sell in shop?
We have a full coffee menu, from cappuccino’s to meowicano’s! We also have delicious seasonal lattes such as pumpkin spice lattes and gingerbread lattes! We also sell fresh scones, snack boxes, and other treats. We have the Adventure Cats clothing line, along with over six different cat artists in Atlanta artwork including that of Catlanta. We have perfect gifts for cat lovers and Java Cats merch!
Where does the art come from? Who painted the murals?
The cat lounge murals were done by 70Dot, a 73-year-old street artist from Cabbagetown and Myra who is a henna artist from LA. The cats were inspired by my own two cats, and my investor’s cat and the mandalas were added to give a unique, fun, artsy vibe!
What other kind of local events are you interested in hosting in the future?
I have so many events I have in mind for the future! Our Java Cats clothing swap was super successful so that will definitely happen again! Cat yoga is in the works, more cat paint classes, and we even have a book club!
What is your favorite salon?
I love Adore, and I love Kelsey Chlopecka! Kelsey is my amazing stylist, and my hair has never looked so good. So thankful I found y’all!