After retiring from her career as a math teacher, Eilene Shaffer was intrigued by her daughter’s suggestion to start a cat café in the heart of Doylestown. The MeWow Cat Café successfully combines her love for desserts with her passion for cats, who are often given a permanent, loving home by some of the café’s patrons.
Shaffer, who was looking forward to the excitement and fun of her new business, willingly enlisted the help of SCORE Bucks County’s mentorship program for nascent small businesses. “There’s absolutely no doubt in my mind that SCORE was massively helpful,” she said.
Like many small businesses, the MeWow Café has faced some unforeseen trials brought on by the pandemic. Shaffer has struggled to watch as her successful café suffered beneath new government regulations. Still, like any successful business owner, she has fought to adapt her café to best serve her customers, even in uncertain times.
“It’s difficult for small businesses to be optimistic during this time,” she said. “Instead, we have to be realistic.”
The café owner has risen to unexpected challenges and has begun to develop new ideas for her business, including allowing educators to use the cats to maintain student interest during virtual instruction. She continues to look for ways to engage the Doylestown community in a meaningful way in hopes of encouraging the growth of her café.
SCORE Bucks County certified mentor Vicki Brown offered advice and assistance to Shaffer to help her through the process of starting a small business. Brown, the owner of a successful home cleaning company, offered peer mentoring sessions and identified the steps required to launch the café.
Shaffer is thankful for the SCORE program and the impact it has had on her business. In the future, she is excited to continue the cycle of business development by helping other entrepreneurs get their dreams and ideas started in the real world.
“I want to pay it forward,” she said. “I want to help others the way I was helped.”
Brown is optimistic about the future of the cat café and admires the way Shaffer has risen to each challenge.
“It was a pleasure to work with Eilene,” Brown said. “It’s not often someone has both the passion and the drive to see an idea bloom and come true. She is one of a kind.”