When Chip and Karen Van Klompenburg decided to start a new career together, their idea for a café was just beginning to develop into what is now the Stray Music and Arts Café.
Working together to build the all-new, out-of-the-ordinary cafe, the duo are almost ready to release their opening date after a long summer of renovations and coffee tastings.
The building they bought at 4253 S. Division Ave. in Wyoming should be a place that caters to both hometown coffee lovers and local artists of all mediums to practice their craft. The idea behind their Musical and Artistic Cafe is to have live art at all times of the day on their stage, although their first few months will likely have more scattered performances throughout the week. Whether painting, poetry, dancing or live music, The Stray will always have something to do while sipping on coffee, wine or beer.
“We kind of dreamed of having a community space where people could just hang out, and that turned into a cafe idea a while back with live music and the arts,” Chip said. . “We want to be able to connect the artists and the community in a little more intimate atmosphere. “
Chip’s role in the company as chairman is certainly a change from his previous career partnering with his brother at Extol, an automation machinery maker. Karen’s role as Creative Director is a little less far-fetched than her previous job as a freelance interior design artist. Together, the duo have the experience and creativity to transform The Stray into something unique that the people of Grand Rapids will want to do on a regular basis. With the help of their son, Hunter, who recently graduated from Belmont University in Music Business, they’ll be programming live artists in no time.
“Some people like to go to the park, some people like to go to the beach, some people like to go to the library – a lot of people like to hang out at cafes in their hometowns, and that’s where we want to be,” Chip said, “where they feel known.”
The goal of making The Stray a creative and comfortable environment is to encourage patrons and local artists to call the cafe their third place, which means it comes after their home and work as a place of community and of relaxation. In addition to their focus on art, the duo also plan to serve pastries and coffee drinks for the breakfast crowd, soups and sandwiches for lunch breaks, as well as flatbreads and platters. cold cuts for the 5 pm team.
“We really want to continue to promote the arts here in Grand Rapids and help promote individual artists,” Chip said.
The Van Klompenburg family want to open the doors of The Stray in early fall. So whether you are an artist or an art supporter, The Stray hopes to be your third place in Grand Rapids.