Sara Phillips, Staff Photographer
There is a new café serving more than coffee and bagels in San Marcos. Café Monet helps dish out lasting artwork, and provides a calming environment that can unleash the inner artist on a blank slate.
The San Marcos studio is painted gray and plays canvas to art designs on the wall, offering vibrant splashes of color. The smell of paint wafts throughout the store.
With the dream of becoming successful entrepreneurs who are allowed to wear shorts at work, Charles Winson and his wife started their business, Café Monet, in Austin. Eleven years later, the couple now owns three stores. A second Austin location opened in 2009 and their outlet store opened July 1 in San Marcos.
“We had a lot of requests to come south,” Winson said. “As long as the community keeps supporting us, we’ll keep expanding.”
Winson calls Café Monet a “drop-in studio.” The studio is prepared with all the equipment needed to get started, including a wide selection of ceramic artwork, paint and a trained artist to blast creations in a kiln to make them usable and dishwasher-safe.
Winson said the San Marcos location was designed as an outlet store to cater to the student and family community.
Café Monet got its name partially as a tribute to the French artist, Claude Monet, and to give the vibe of being in a café setting without eating.
“We wanted to be basically an art café, instead of a food café,” Winson said. “Just a place where you can come and relax. Although it looks like a restaurant, you are going to come and create ceramics in a nice, cozy, friendly place.”
Winson considers Café Monet to be a resourceful alternative to studying for students who need a place to come and recharge.
“Knowing that San Marcos was a university kind of town, we wanted to make this really affordable,” Winson said.
The studio donates to charities, churches and fundraising events.
“Talk, communicate and keep something from your experience,“ Winson said. “Bring the kids to come and relax. This way you can actually talk to your kid instead of just going to the movies.”
The San Marcos location has received an increase in attention from local businesses. Some businesses have used the studio’s private rooms for parties and for team building activities, Winson said.
Michelle Gomez, psychology junior, and Jena Devito, education sophomore, heard about the pottery studio through coupon books. Devito said they felt like being crafty and Café Monet seemed like the place to feed their artistic needs.
Gomez said if students want to find a place to relax and experience something different, Café Monet offers a calm atmosphere compared to other places where individuals usually go to get their mind off school.
“It’s not over-crowded, not too many people on top of each other,” Gomez said.
The studio offers a variety of ceramics for shoppers to choose from, including mugs, vases, figurines and pet dishes.