Born from an idea while on a volunteer trip with her son in Tanzania, Africa, Poa (stands for cool in Swahilli and is often used in a greeting amongst friends), became a reality in early 2014. Janice returned to Portland fixed on creating a neighborhood cafe with a strong sense of family and community. A place that would inspire global awareness from a young age and teach about the richness of culture across our world. It would not be just any play cafe, but one with thought that would help create global citizens.
The project took six months to complete, with Janice and her husband Greg designing and building a majority on their own as a labour of love. The interior is divided into four sections: a front marble bar with USB plug-ins (and free wifi), a large dining room section with artisanal wood tables, a creative play-space for kids that includes iPads, art supplies, puzzles and educational games, and a reading nook within a library for all ages. A front sidewalk cafe faces N Williams bike trail, and there's a large back private patio with a risk-play area for kids.
Poa serves up simple, wholesome foods along with espresso drinks, wine, beer and a full bar for entertaining. The cafe hosts many classes, lessons, workshops and events that expose children of all ages (and adults) to different cultural perspectives and diverse forms of creativity. It takes a community to raise a child.