South Austin coffee shop caters to working parents, offers childcare

AUSTIN (KXAN) -- Inside an old house in south Austin on an acre of land The Hive is buzzing with parents. It's a coffee shop and co-working space with child supervision.

"Our goal is to have this be a mecca of everything a parent would need without having to leave the site," said Shelly Weiser, The Hive's owner.

The mom of two is a graphic designer and came up with the idea out of necessity.

"I had some work that I was frantically trying to plug out and my kids were screaming and my clients were upset," she said. "And, I said, 'There's got to be a different option.'"

The Hive opened in October 2017. Weiser said it's a place you can grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine or beer and do your work while your kids are watched. Weiser said parents can also rent out desks and a conference room. They even have a phone booth for calls.

She says 40 percent of the business right now is dads needing some help with their little one while they work remotely. Supervised childcare is $10 an hour and parents have to reserve a spot for the child.

"If you have work to do, if you have visiting to do, if you have a book you want to read, coloring you want to do, whatever it is you want to do quietly for an hour or four that's what we are here for," said Weiser. "You can stay on site and peek in and check on your children. We have a one-way window so that you can feel comfortable that they are being taken care of, but not have that stress of leaving them."

Weiser says they don't change dirty diapers and if your little one has to go to the bathroom they will call your cellphone or find you.

The Hive is listening to parents and what they need including adding a space for naps while their kids are being watched and massage days. Weiser says soon they will have a drive-through and a food truck park on the land.

Becca Tochman, also a mom of two, understands the need for some help. She along with a good friend Susan Glass launched Studio Sitter. The 30-foot trailer has been converted into a mobile playroom which they opened last week.

"When I went to try and have some of that time for myself and take care of myself by work-out classes that I used to love ... things to make me feel like my old self ...  it was really cumbersome and hard because there wasn't any solution for her," said Tochman.

Studio Sitter partners with businesses that don't have the space for childcare services. The owners say the trailer is never in motion while the kids are inside. There's video surveillance, but they are not licensed by the state. "We fall into the same category as traditional gyms and church nurseries," said Glass.

The mobile trailer can be found in front of Moda Yoga, Athletic Outcomes and Path Salon right now.

"We are trying to cut out that triangular pattern of having to drop your kid here and then go here. You are paying for a lot of hours that you really don't need," said Glass. The partners are working on expanding the current schedule to include other locations around Austin.

Neither business is required to be licensed by the state because parents have to stay near or on location, and because of how few hours the kids are under supervised care.

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