Aaron Leu | The Well
Aaron and Adam Leu have worked together for years.
The brothers, who at one time owned a painting company together, were looking for a new venture that would allow them to interact with the public.
After visiting play cafés in Columbus, they began to look for an older building to house a business that would be part play café, part restaurant and part community gathering place.
In March, the brothers - with the help of their wives and parents - opened The Well in Lancaster. The family members like working together, Aaron Leu said.
"It's very good," he said. "Our family is very close. We're all committed to this."
What made you decide to give your business a play café focus?
We had stumbled upon play cafés in Columbus. Both of us have three children. With three children, you can't go out too much. We like that atmosphere. But ours is a lot different than other places.
How does The Well differ?
We didn't want to exclude people in the community. We wanted it to be a gathering for everyone - not just someone with children. That's where the food and the coffee come in. We also sell things made by artisans: handmade soaps, lotions and other goods. We've got bulk herbs and bulk grains. It's a number of concepts. It's a unique place.
Tell us about your food.
We wanted it to be very healthy. We've got juices and smoothies. We have two or three things that we offer each day. We keep rotating and keep it healthy. We're a totally gluten-free facility. Our sandwiches are served on gluten-free bread we bake here. It's all vegetarian. We're very vegan-friendly. Adam also started a coffee-roasting business so we've got fresh roasted coffee.
What is the play area like?
It's simple: a three-story tree house. There's different levels children can climb through. It's got built-in cubbies, a reading nook and storage areas. It costs $3 to play all day. Children under 1 are free.
Did your kids have any impact on the design?
A big part is having children, seeing what develops their creativity. Adam and I built the structure. Our two boys - they're the oldest - were down here constantly when we were building it. They were our guinea pigs.
Do you have any special events?
Right now we're open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday. We might get into doing evening events here. We're just seeing how it goes. We're trying to get the day-to-day down.