These Babes aren't monkeying around with their cyber cafe, gift shop

July 12, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Three Babes and a Monkey Cafe and Gift Shop opened with little fanfare but is fast becoming a hot commodity in downtown Danville, both for customers and for people speculating on the origin of the unusual name.

The mystery behind the name of the establishment is still cloudy - or the owners aren't talking.

"Everybody who stops in asks where the monkey part came from," said Tammy Spurlin, partner with Lauren Serey and Dr. Susan Coleman in the venture. "It's a constant source of conversation, and there's really no single answer."

Spurlin said the owners' husbands began to suggest names early in the planning stages.

"You'll get three different answers to that, depending on who you ask," said Spurlin. "The 'Three Babes' part was pretty obvious, but the monkey part was just thrown in as one of the suggestions. We weren't really enthused about it at first, but we had to choose a name and get it on our LLC (Limited Liability Corporation) papers. Then it kind of stuck, and people are talking about it.


"I guess they'll just have to come up with their own ideas about where the monkey comes in."

Spurlin said the idea sprang from a shared dream with Serey and Coleman.

"We kind of fell into this," said Spurlin. "I like coffee, Lauren likes tea, and Susan likes both. I've always wanted to open a restaurant, and the subject came up at a Christmas party last year," said Spurlin. "Lauren immediately said she was interested, and so did Susan. The fact that we knew very little about the restaurant business didn't slow us down one bit. Our husbands all said they were behind us, but they knew it was going to cost them big."

"The party was at Two Roads, and when I overheard Tammy and Lauren talking, I immediately yelled 'I want in,'" said Coleman, who works at the cafe when her medical schedule permits. Serey is working full time after leaving her nursing job, and Spurlin mixes in seminary classes with her work time.

"Babes" were acquaintances

The three "babes" were acquaintances, according to Serey, mainly through their professional endeavors. Serey, wife of Dr. Thomas Serey, was an emergency room nurse at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center. Coleman is an obstetrician and Spurlin is married to Dr. Mark Spurlin. After agreeing a cafe was something all three wanted, they worked through the winter and spring to solidify plans, renovate the location and prepare for a summer opening.

"We all put in a lot of hours," said Serey. "I had the inventory for the store in my house for over two months, and we just worked and lived around it. We spent a lot of time with inspectors, contractors and advisors, and things kept falling into place for us."

The location at 127 N. Fourth St., across from the courthouse, had been vacant for almost five years, Serey said.

"There was a lot of water damage in here," she said. "We replaced the walls and wiring completely, and rebuilt the plumbing. We're putting in new air conditioning, and we had help with the decor."

The decorating help came from artist Lori Goggans.

"Lori did all the decorating, all the painting," said Serey. "Her work is in exhibits throughout this area, and we felt very, very fortunate to have access to her talents."

"We were inundated," said Spurlin. "It really surprised us. We planned to open quietly so we could get a feel before our Grand Opening, and people kept coming in and calling. It was wonderful."

The unexpectedly heavy traffic served a purpose, however; Spurlin said the staff got a baptism under fire.

"I think we all developed a great deal of respect for those people who were already in the restaurant business," she said. "It really is a learning process, and those first few days helped us learn how much we didn't know."

Three Babes and a Monkey, currently boasting 14 employees, opened for business June 29, but will hold an official Grand Opening Thursday, complete with a giveaway of a gift basket.

The menu includes various coffees with an expresso bar, other beverages including teas, hot chocolate, juices, and drinks called "Monkanilla" (cappucino, vanilla and whipped cream) and "Babe-a-Licious" (Ghiradelli chocolate, vanilla and praline syrup).

Smoothies and milk shakes of several flavors can be ordered, as well as various blends of teas served hot or iced.

Hungry customers can find wraps, sandwiches, side and entree salads, soups and desserts on the menu, and even customers who need breakfast will find items including Western or bacon, egg and cheese wraps, cinnamon rolls with cream cheese, muffins, bagels, croissants and scones.

"We plan to add some low-carb menu items in the near future," said Spurlin.

Equipment for wireless Internet should be installed this week

Serey said she expects to have the equipment installed this week for wireless Internet access, allowing customers with laptops and mobile devices to surf the Web while they visit.

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