What happened to the coffee cafe idea?

If you have been following us for a while you might remember the original concept for Imagine Play included a coffee cafe. We love coffee here and we think most parents do too. If the idea had come into fruition the cafe would have included specialty coffee, protein boxes and more.

Why didn’t we implement it? Not to sound like a broken record, but once again it had to do with lack of funds. In order to get licensing from health and safety for a location that has never been a food facility before you’re required to get architectural plans drawn up (among many other things). The cost for these plans would be between $10-$16K. This and the permitting fees deterred us getting the coffee cafe we so wanted to have.

The good news was that the requirements for running a small snack bar with pre-packaged food was much less strict and very feasible. Therefore, that is the route we took. We have snacks like crackers, cookies, granola bars, and chips. Snacks are between $1-$3. We are a peanut free facility. We do not sell any peanut products and we ask that parents do not bring any peanut products in.

In conclusion, we decided that we really wanted to open an indoor play area, not run a coffee shop. It really allowed us to concentrate on making Imagine Play an awesome play space.

However, it doesn’t mean this idea won’t come true. Some day, we hope we have less barriers to make all our dreams come true.

The compromise is our coffee complimentary bar. It’s not fancy, but if you need some parent fuel it does the job. We also provide hot water for tea. Come visit us for Open Play to enjoy!

Coffee Cafe

How we listen to your feedback

Did you know that every month we have a staff meeting? And one of the topics we discuss is your reviews. We may not respond directly. You may not even know we are listening, but we are. Whether it’s good or bad via yelp, google, mom groups or what we hear from customers verbally we talk about our feedback.

Of course, if it’s good things we discuss what we can do to keep making those things positive for people.

For less than positive reviews we dissect them. Was it a safety issue? A staff issue? A policy issue?

Imagine Play feedback

If there are immediate safety issues we can fix, we fix them, either by adjusting policy or replacing items. However, please be aware some issues takes time to resolve. Not all things can be done overnight because we either haven’t found a better solution yet or (in most cases) it cost money. Let’s be real, most of physical problems can be fixed with money, but in most cases we have to save up to make bigger changes.

Staff Issues are usually what we feel are lack of customer service skills. Most of our staff are younger on their first job and it’s not until you have a young staff that you realize that some things that may come very natural to some, needs to be taught to our staff. Learning how to speak to people is a skill that comes with wisdom and during meetings (and other times) we train our employees about how to problem solve.

We’re not going to say that our policies are set in stone. As they do get adjusted quite frequently because there is a constant learning curve. Policies are adjusted when we want to prevent future problems from arising and for us to set expectations correctly. However, we have to admit we do get quite a few comments about some policies that probably will never change, such as our sock only policy or our pricing.

Again, being as transparent as possible without being technical. There is a number we have to hit every day in order to make rent, pay employees, make loan payments, utilities, insurance….the list goes on. This is what we charge because we must. Every week we reevaluate and the common question we ask ourselves is if we are charging enough?

It’s a hard thing to run a business. We are under pressure to try to please every customer that walks into our doors, but we understand that we cannot please 100% of people. It actually breaks our heart, even keeps us up at night because we take every comment seriously. Thanks for making us better and supporting us through the good times and definite growing pains.

What is our cleaning practices?

One of our goals upon opening Imagine Play is to keep strict cleaning practices. After all, a mom and her kids lives and breathes here, among other things.

Cleaning Practices

We implement cleaning in several ways.

  • If you have been to Imagine Play you’ll see that an employee is usually on the floor putting back the toys. We call this resetting the floor and we try to do as often as possible, even though not as often as we’ll like. This is to help keep the floor fresh for incoming patrons, but also to prevent a tripping hazard for little and big feet alike.
  • Mid-Day, everyday, when we are the slowest we wipe down every toy and station with a cloth and disinfectant spray. We use to do this upon closing, but it would take us until after dark to finish. To be more efficient we do it mid-day so closing becomes less of a time consuming process. Don’t worry, play is encourage to resume during our wipe-down times.
  •  At the end of the day, once the whole floor is reset from Open Play, we do a final spray of disinfectant before we lock the doors for the night.
  • Vacuuming is done everyday after closing and a professional cleaning crew comes every other day to mop the entire floor and clean our bathrooms. The cleaning crew is a life saver!
  • What about other things that can’t be wiped down? Such as our costumes. Well truth be told, a lot of them get thrown away and replaced because they get a lot of use and torn in the process, but for those that stay intact every 1 to 2 weeks the costumes are taken to be washed with our cleaning towels.

Imagine Play Cleaning Practice

This is what is takes 7 days a week to keep Imagine Play clean because we understand the importance of a nice clean place for your kids to play in and while we can’t keep every germ away, just know that EVERY DAY we try our best.

See you soon for Open Play.

What is up with our socks only policy?

Do you ever wonder why most place spaces require a sock only rule? We’ll give you a bit of insight of why we came to the decision regarding our open play sock policy.

Sock Policy

  1. It’s a hygiene thing. We want to prevent any transfer of outside debris such as mud into our place space, but mostly to keep fungi or bacteria out.
  2. Speaking of mud and things. Since we do have little ones that are in the putting-everything -in-their mouth phase it will help prevent small objects such as sticks or small rock being picked up and swallowed by little ones.
  3. Little fingers safety. We want to prevent any accidents that can happen if something falls on tiny toes or hands.
  4. BUT MOSTLY. Here’s the honest truth, it’s really to keep our play equipment and floors in tip top shape! A $10K floor replacement is just something we can’t afford within the first years of our business.

Read more about our open play policies before you come to visit.

Sock Policy

Why are we hard to find?

Next month, marks the one year anniversary of when we signed our lease at our current location on Grant Line Rd. At least once a day we hear, “I can’t find you”. We agree, we are inconspicuous  and there is a story behind it. Let’s talk about how we came upon our currently location that is now Imagine Play.

Imagine Play Location Front

Last year around this time we were actively looking for a location and in mid July we found one that was perfect. It was 4,000 sq ft. and had really high ceilings with plenty of parking, but in the end after getting all the bids to build out bathrooms and such it would’ve cost us over $200K to get the location up to where we needed it to be and frankly we really didn’t have the funds to start up that location.

We went back to the drawing board and found several other locations that were great contenders, but there were some obstacles that prevented us from getting into those locations and some of those objections even surprised us!

Imagine Play Location

  1. Cost to Build Out: This by far was our biggest hurdle. After finding out that our first location wasn’t going to work cost wise, we started looking for spaces that already had bathrooms build out and pre-existing electrical. Knocking down walls and putting in floors was much more cost effective. Our current landlord negotiated the build out with us, which was a great help.
  2. Lease Restrictions: In at least two of our desired locations there were businesses that had lease restrictions that didn’t allow for another children related business to be in the complex.
  3. Parking: This was one of those surprising elements. There was a location we loved that had a really charming exterior and in a nice central location, but at last the owner came back and said he felt like there wouldn’t be enough parking to accommodate us. We were really disappointed with this news, but everything happens for a reason right?
  4. Rent: In the end, this was the deal breaker for us. To be honest, some of the prime locations would have cost us about $10K a month and for us the smart decision was a location where low rent would make it easier to sustain.

With our options dwindling Grant Line was really the only location that fit all our requirements and without it there would be no Imagine Play location today and while we are hard to find we hope that once you do find us you’ll continue to help this location thrive!

We continue to learn and change each day. Here’s some before and afters of the progress that was made from construction to opening. If you have been recently you know we have grown  since even these pictures and if you haven’t been yet, come visit us soon.

Check out our hours on our calendar.

Imagine Play Location

Imagine Play Location

If you still have a hard time finding us you can follow the directions below or visit out homepage  footer for complete address.

Coming from 99. 
-Exit freeway.
-Turn right in the first parking lot off the freeway
-The front building may say 10471.

If you miss our parking lot.
-Turn right onto Survey Rd.
-Continue on Survey Rd pass the stop sign until you hit the gate to the freeway or until you see when East Stockton Blvd Continues.
-Turn right into parking lot.
-You’ll come behind New Songs School of Music.

Coming from Elk Grove Park or Other
-East Stockton Blvd turns into Survey Rd.
-Continue on Survey Rd pass the stop sign until you hit the gate to the freeway or until you see when East Stockton Blvd Continue.
-Turn right into parking lot.
-You’ll come behind New Songs School of Music.

Imagine Play Location