Tracey Wiseman (left) and Kim Wade want to use their new venture, Busy Beans Play Café, to be more than just an indoor playground for kids. The pair plan on using their backgrounds in child development and education to help families struggling to connect. (Jordyn Thomson - Western News)

More than just a playground: Penticton’s Busy Beans Play Café to help parents and children

Owners Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman want to use their expertise to help struggling families

Two new entrepreneurs in Penticton are using their business to bring joy to children while helping their parents.

Kim Wade and Tracey Wiseman are opening an indoor playground called Busy Beans Play Café, located at 128-197 Warren Ave. E, where Time Flies used to operate. Both have previously worked with children in various professions and as mothers, and were looking for a change.

“Tracey and I have been best friends for 30 years, we grew up together and had our kids together. And now that they’re grown up and moving on we needed something to keep us occupied,” said Wade, who explained it was a coincidence that Time Flies announced its closure at the same time she was looking to switch careers.

“My husband and I were talking one night, and I thought ‘Okay if this is mid-life and I’m going through it, I feel like I need a change,’ and then, not a word of a lie, the next night Time Flies posted on Facebook that they were closing down,” said Wade.

“It was impeccable timing, it just made sense.”

READ MORE: Mom concerned about multiple biting incidents at PIB daycare

Both have an education background with child development and education, so they recognized that this business could be more than just a place for kids to play. They also noted that they frequently heard from other parents that Penticton was lacking in things to do with children, so they did not want to see the business disappear.

“Coming (to Time Flies) with our own kids, with having that background, there was things that I would see when I came in and think ‘Oh I would love to change that, or we could do that, or we should try this.’,” said Wade, who started the endeavour and then brought Wiseman in as a partner.

“When I saw the Facebook post (announcing Time Flies closure), my heart sunk because it is such a huge asset for the community.”

Wade said one role Busy Beans Play Café could fill is catering to supervised visits between parents and children with the Ministry of Children & Family Development (MCFD).

“MCFD is trying to reunite families, so they can have supervised visits here. Parents can come and they’re not stuck in a little ministry or social worker office. It gives the parents, who are trying to connect with their kids again, the chance to be with other parents,” said Wade.

The pair will also be trying to get parents more involved with play at their café, and said they will discourage “screen time.”

“We got rid of the overly-comfortable couches and seating that used to be in here because it’s not about that. It’s not about parents coming in and the kids running off to play, so mom and dad are sitting on the couch on their iPad or phone,” said Wade. “We don’t want that. We want the parents to be sitting on the floor with the kids, and connecting with them.”

READ MORE: Wiltse PAC setting the bar high for new playground equipment

Wiseman added, “We’re not a daycare, and we’re not the play centre at McDonald’s.”

In addition, the venue also has a sensory play room for children on the autism spectrum and a craft room, which will be utilized by two week-long camps this summer. Wade said they also plan to frequently change out toys and play stations at the indoor playground so that children can develop new skills through play.

“We are going to be hands-on and we are going to be in here to help if we see a parent struggling, because we have the background and we have the experience,” said Wade. “We’ve been up all hours of the night, we’ve had foster kids that are going through trauma and grief and loss. So we want people to know that this is a safe place and we will support you.”

Wiseman said she and Wade work well together because they can assume different roles with the business. She believes Wade will have more of a presence on the floor, getting to know the families, while she will handle more of the administrative, behind-the-scenes duties.

The Busy Beans Play Café is planning for a soft opening on June 4, with an official opening celebration to take place at a later date.

To report a typo, email: [email protected].

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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