Dear Friends, I'm sharing this with you because everyone keeps asking when will we FINALLY open? WHEN?? Well, there's been a setback because OF COURSE there would be one.
Tuesday was moving day for MoBu Kids. We were so excited to clean out the storage unit, start organizing the equipment, say hi to some friends we haven't seen in awhile, and get things ready for you, our customers.
A few days before the move, The MoBu Spouse came by to admire the new space.
We debated the merits of where to place certain items and he jokingly told me that we were going to need to downsize because we had too much stuff for this smaller space. I laughed and said we would rotate chairs in and out.
On Tuesday, the movers noticed that some things were damp and getting progressively wetter the further into the storage unit they got. Crud. The sprinklers leaked into our interior climate controlled storage unit and onto our things. So many things.
Our reception furniture. Ruined.
Foam climbers, slides, blocks, steps. Ruined.
Dolls, stuffed animals, costumes. Ruined.
Books. This was the worst for me. Boxes and boxes of books had to be thrown away. I remembered reading those books to your kids. I remembered reading those books to MY kids.
Arts and crafts supplies, office supplies,
The picture below is the big stuff that had to go, but overall a small portion of what actually went.
Instead of organizing and detailing the new space, I have been going through each box and bin and painfully deciding what can be salvaged and what must be tossed. Every item needs to be wiped down with a bleach solution.
So where are we now? Exterior signs are ordered, the phone will be reconnected this week (same number!), and I hope to have a soft opening next week (squee!!). Once I get us back online, we will start processing birthday parties for October and beyond.
I thank you all for your patience and understanding.
We are looking for some new faces to work along side our returning staff. We are seeking hardworking, organized, and self-motivated part time staff for our busy indoor playground.
Applicants should be detail oriented, dependable, outgoing, have excellent phone and customer service skills, and be able to pass a criminal background check.The ideal candidates will be able to ensure children are learning and having fun. If you are a self-starter full of creativity and ideas you will fit in perfectly. Having a positive and upbeat attitude is a must!
We are hiring all positions and all hours.
MoBu Kids is an independently owned children’s facility in Falls Church, Virginia, offering classes, camps, birthday parties, and parent’s night out. Please send resume and cover letter detailing experience with children, customer service, and hours desired to email@example.com.
** Please NO PHONE CALLS OR VISITS! ** (Our contractors wouldn't know how to react.)
Have you checked out our new logo? We used our down time to think long and hard about "MoBu Kids" - what is and what we want it to be. Those of you who were around 10 years ago when Monkey Business first opened (anyone? anyone?) may remember the original name. Unfortunately, it needed to be changed due to a pesky trademark dispute. It was shortened to "MoBu Kids" - get it? "Mo"nkey "Bu"siness.
But the question remains, what is MoBu Kids? What does it mean? We didn't want to change the name - a name that kids and families in Falls Church have grown to love. Perhaps if we were after world domination we could alter it slightly to "Mobile Kids" and send forth toddlers to rise up and conquer the indoor playground world. The MoBu Spouse suggested "Mo'Bile Kids" with an image of a baby spitting up, because c'mon. We've all been there.
It was time to call in professionals.
We reached out through our Her Corner network for suggestions and hooked up with Erika at Spring Insight. Erika and her team worked with us to get to the heart of MoBu Kids. We are an indoor playground. We are not a gymnastics studio. We want kids to dream. Be creative. Build castles and spaceships. Go camping. Drive trucks. Be a pirate.
They sent us this:
Except, of course, that it was too busy and too big and altogether too much for a logo. But it was *us*. They got us. Eventually that turned into this:
So there you have it. New location, new logo, new start. Same safe, fun, creative environment. We cannot wait for you to come play with us.
It's been many long months since we last had an update to share. What's been happening?
We have missed you and can't wait to see you soon!
It's official! We will be opening at 127 S. Washington in Falls Church! No date yet, but the space is officially ours. The next step is meeting with the architects (we need some work done), getting the contractors in, and finally painting and laying carpet. I hate to give an estimate on time, because whenever I do that, God laughs.
I am so excited and look forward to sharing the progress with you over the next few weeks/months.
It has been a very long year that we have been closed. Many of you have contacted me to ask about refunds for your open play cards.
Open Play punch cards were sold at many different price points and we do not have records of how much each person paid. Some were bought on sale, some were purchased via Groupon, etc. Without those records - even if we had the available funds to do so - we cannot issue refunds.
There's no easy way to say this, so I'm going to rip the band aid off: We did not get our parking variance. We continue to be entangled in red tape* and the landlord has decided to move on.
This means that we are back to square 1. Our realtor continues to hunt for space for us that is the right size, great parking, and affordable. Those aren't easy to find in the area these days. All hope is not lost and we continue to seek another location.
*More detailed explanation: Fairfax County is in the midst of overhauling its parking formulas. Our application arrived at the beginning of this process and it was estimated to take a few weeks. We are now at month 12 of the process with no end in sight. While our application was not rejected, we are unable to get a firm answer on how long it will be until the county has its new parameters in place. Therefore, the landlord decided it was best to rescind the application and move forward with another tenant.
I was having difficulties getting into our blog so sorry for the delay in an update. Sadly, there isn't much of an update to give.
Our Falls Church location is still held up in county red tape. I've had my county supervisor looking into it, but no action.
The Kingstowne location has been moving forward at glacial speed (pre-global warming) but now the landlord is throwing a wrench in the works by changing the terms we had previously agreed upon.
We are continuing to spend money on storage, telephone, database, key employees, etc, and this cannot be sustained indefinitely. At some point, the funds for build out, deposit, etc will be depleted. We continue to look for the "perfect site" that would be relatively turn key and quick to open, but I'm not holding my breath.
I understand that people are frustrated by the length of time this is taking. I sincerely wish we had reopened in November/December, as we had orginally planned. We have received a few inquiries about refunds. MoBu Kids has had a longstanding (read: pre-Jill's ownership) of no refunds. All punch cards will be honored at the new location(s), when it opens. If you have class credit, we have it on record and you will receive it at the new location(s).
This week, we received approval to use the new space as an indoor playground. Yay!
Now for the groan, from our landlord, "I met with county staff regarding our parking reduction request. They were receptive to our request for an increased parking reduction and believed we had sufficient justification. There is some more formal procedure to go through which I will be starting on today. The staff informed us that action items for the Board of Supervisors must be submitted (in their finalized form, after all reviews) at least one month in advance of a meeting. As such the staff estimated we are about two months out at this point, assuming everything goes smoothly."
Ah mah gah!!! Argh. Head on keyboard. This space has been empty since November 1st. We have been waiting to get in and operate since then. I do not want to cut off my nose to spite my face, but I am NOT a patient person. I could pull the plug on this space, but where would we go? We have few other options that meet our specifications. So I will try to wait this out and be patient, and hope all my money doesn't go to storage space and other bills before it's time to move in.
My head is spinning - and not in a good way. More like Linda Blair from the Exorcist. We did not get approved today. We didn't NOT get approved, either - we got punted to next month (my term).
The county supervisor for the Providence District, Linda Q. Smyth, has requested more information about the project before she will recommend it to the full Board of Supervisors. The staffer that we need to work with to provide the answers is OUT OF THE OFFICE until February 1st. Do you know when I learned of this? Around 1pm today, the day of the meeting. So there is at least another month of being shut down.
What does this mean for MoBu? It means that we cross our fingers and hope we can float another month of expenses while not bringing in any income - and still have enough funds left to open. It also means that we are actively pursuing our hope of another location elsewhere in the county. We had hoped to open the new location in the greater Falls Church area first, as we consider that our home base and where most of you live. However, there is a space I've had my eye on for awhile that will not need a parking and traffic study, and that might be faster to open than our home base.
I appreciate all the messages of encouragement we have received, as well as the inquiries coming in daily on when will you be able to book birthday parties, why aren't we taking reservations for summer camp, and what in the heck is the hold up? I'm impatient as well.