Skip to main content

The Cool Place: An kid inspired cafe now open in Pulaski

Jenny Hanson opened the new business Dec. 18, 2023

share arrow printer bookmark flag

February 21, 2024

PULASKI — The Cool Place, a play-inspired cafe located at 106 W. Pulaski St. in the Village of Pulaski, opened its doors at the end of last year — and so far, Owner Jenny Hanson said things are going great.

Hanson, who has lived in Pulaski for 10 years, was a stay-at-home mom to four kids before opening The Cool Place.

In that role, she said one of the biggest issues she had was finding things to do with her kiddos, especially during the winter months.

Hanson said she wanted to bring something to Pulaski that kids aged 0-10 could do indoors and give parents reprieve while also being able to connect to others.

“There’s not much here besides bars,” she said. “Being able to bring (this to) the community is cool.”

Not only is the goal of The Cool Place to provide social interaction for kids, Hanson said, but for adults, too — knowing firsthand how helpful a support network can be.

Hanson said her intent with The Cool Place is to capture folks from the smaller communities surrounding Pulaski.

“You have Sobieski, Shawano, Bonduel, Seymour, Chase and all those smaller communities that are looking for something different,” she said. “They have to travel to Green Bay or Appleton to get something like this.”

The community’s reception
Though running an indoor play cafe is new for Hanson, she is no stranger to entrepreneurship.

The Pulaski native launched The Cool Bus — an ice cream truck — last June.

Hanson said the bus was an instant hit, and its proceeds helped fund The Cool Place.

Just as the community has supported The Cool Bus, Hanson said the reception she’s received thus far for The Cool Place has been equally supportive.

Before opening The Cool Place, Jennifer Hanson was a stay-at-home mom to four kids. Chris Rugowski Photo

She said the community is also happy to see a vacant property filled.

“This building was vacant for as long as I lived out here, and that’s 10-plus years,” she said. “The building has a lot of history, too.”

Before setting up shop and sitting vacant for years, Hanson said the building had been home to a doctor’s office, a dentist’s office and a bank.

“To be a part of history is cool,” she said.

Hanson said the property’s former bank vault is now a playroom.

In addition to being an indoor playground, Hanson said The Cool Place is also a fully functioning cafe — with coffee and treats — with is open to anyone, regardless of age.

She said she’s had high schoolers and middle schoolers come in just to sit in the cafe and do homework and get snacks.

For as exciting as it was to open the business, Hanson said it was a bit overwhelming in the beginning.

However, she said she’s received a lot of support from her family, especially her husband, who is part owner of the cafe.

Hanson said being able to bring the family and incorporate her kids into the business makes “going to work easier.”

“They’re doing the same thing they would at home, plus they get snacks and get to play (with other kids),” she said.

Hanson said from the outside, many folks can’t believe what’s inside The Cool Place — “it’s much more than meets the eye.”

Starting from a blank canvas, she said she and her husband worked together to design each space.

“There was a lot of cleaning,” she said. “I have a video showing what it looked like before and after — (we put in a lot of work).”

Some of the initial interest The Cool Place received, Hanson said, she credits to the following she has accumulated on The Cool Bus’s Facebook page.

Since opening, Hanson said one of her favorite parts of The Cool Place is seeing the excitement of the kids.

“It’s fun to watch the kids come in and get excited,” she said. “They will say, ‘this is so cool,’ and that’s one reason behind the name.”

Jennifer Hanson said The Cool Place’s cafe area provides an area for parents to comment and communicate with each other. Chris Rugowski Photo

The Cool Place, Hanson said, will also allow her to promote local art and possibly even art from students from the elementary schools — an endeavor she said she hopes to start soon.

“I want art (in the facility) — it’s welcoming and comforting,” she said.

Hanson said she hopes this inspires the kids and guests to create no matter what age they are.

Currently, The Cool Place has several options for kids to play with, including slides, ball pits, a dress-up station, puzzles, cars, tiny tool benches, an art station, a playhouse, ride-on toys and a giant Connect 4 game.

Hanson said they do plan to expand The Cool Place’s offerings in the future — which could include a rock-climbing wall and more imaginary and physical play items.

Intentionally low-tech, she said she won’t have video games, tablets or electronics in the space.

“I want (kids) to come in here and grow their imagination, especially with other kids,” she said. “I’ve had kids who come in, and they all play hide-and-seek using the different rooms. It’s cool because they’re making friends, socializing and using their imagination.”

With live feeds of each space displayed in the cafe, Hanson said parents can keep an eye on their kiddos while they enjoy a cup of coffee in the cafe.

“How often do you get to sit and enjoy coffee with somebody where you can still see your kids are playing just fine,” she said. “It gives independent play without the need for helicopter parenting.”

Usually by the second or third visit, Hanson said kids become comfortable and get to know where to go and what they want to do.

“The younger ones are unsure at first, but then you get the 5-7-year-olds who are already gaining some independence who just run back there,” she said.

The Cool Place, Hanson said, will also be hosting special events, such as daddy-daughter dances, kids’ karaoke nights, talent shows and more.

Helping kids step out of their comfort zone, she said, is an important mission of The Cool Place — encouraging community communication from a young age.

A team effort
A family affair, Hanson said her kids help out at The Cool Place — pitching in wherever and whenever they can.

“My 17-year-old is here when I’m not here, and my four-year-old daughter is our little tour guide,” she said.

Hanson said she appreciates being able to show her kids the business side of things, as well as being able to incorporate them into the activities.

One of the art events The Cool Place hosted, Hanson said, was organized by one of her daughters.

The Cool Place plans to host special events, such as daddy-daughter dances, kids’ karaoke nights, talent shows and more. Chris Rugowski Photo

“She loves art, and she did little crafts with little kids,” she said.

Hanson said as her children grow, she hopes the skills they learn through the business will be beneficial — even the simple yet important aspects, like saving for something bigger.

“They get to see the backside of things people often don’t think about, such as the cost of goods versus profit,” she said.

Being a mom herself, Hanson said she recognizes the value of having places where kids can be kids.

“As a mom, I have a lot of understanding,” she said. “If I wasn’t, and I went in to start this, I wouldn’t be able to succeed. My oldest is 17, and my youngest is still under 5 — so to be able to experience all the different ages and give advice is nice.”

Hanson said it was important to her to keep The Cool Place affordable for everyone.

Daily open play is $10 per child, with additional siblings at $5 each — this gets you two hours of playtime.

Children older than 11 and adults are free.

The Cool Place, Hanson said, also has monthly memberships — $20 a month for families with one child, or $35 for families with two children or more.

Member children can come every day for up to two hours a day.

Hanson said the options available at the cafe are also affordable.

“I wanted to be able to have snacks,” she said. “Kids love snacks — (so the cafe’s snacks are) all kid inspired.”

The menu, Hanson said, will grow over time.

The Cool Place is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

For more on The Cool Place, visit, or check it out on Facebook.

share arrow printer bookmark flag

Trending View All Trending