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.
Fairfax County is considering our parking and traffic issue at tomorrow's meeting!! This has been the most significant hinderance to our reopening. Once we get the approval, we can move forward with our space.
I will let you know how it goes. Please keep your fingers crossed!
Hi friends -
As I write this, it has been nearly two months since we closed our doors at the old location. We are getting calls and emails daily asking when we are going to reopen. I had thought we would be open in early November, Thanksgiving at the very latest. Now, I have no idea. We are waiting for word from the county about our occupancy/use permit.
We moved from the City of Falls Church into Fairfax County, and the county is not familiar with MoBu Kids and what we do. Even though there is plenty of parking in the new location, there is some doubt as to whether we will be within the ratio of spaces per square foot. Someone mentioned the phrase "traffic study" and I shuddered. I should be honored that the county perceives MoBu Kids as being a gigantic traffic generator, drawing crowds from near and far, but the reality is that we are a very small business that is really struggling to wade through the red tape.
I'm beyond ready to be open. We missed sharing Halloween with your children - I adore kids in costumes. We missed Small Business Saturday - there are very few businesses smaller than MoBu - we had awesome promos lined up (we will offer them once we get a date to open.) We haven't planned a Santa event because we don't know if we can hold one. The weather has turned colder and your kids need a place to play - and you need a place to have coffee! In the meantime, we are working behind the scenes to do what we can to ensure that the new MoBu is fresher, better, and more awesome than we were before.
Thank you for your patience.
Thank you to everyone who voted for us in this year's Most Awesome Awards. We were so excited to be voted Easiest Drop Off Play Spot for 2016! It means a lot that you feel safe knowing your kids are well taken care of during Mom's Day Out and Parents' Night Out.
During this transition time, we have paused PNO, but Mom's Day Out continues to be offered every Tuesday. There are a couple spots open on a week by week basis, but you must register in advance. We look forward to getting back to date nights next month!