Town Center welcomes new business

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at Caterpillar Kids Place on Friday marked the official opening of La Cañada’s latest business.

Housed in a 3,500-square-foot space in Town Center, Caterpillar Kids Place is a carpeted indoor playground featuring a gym slide, puppet theater, toy kitchen, a miniature fireman’s play set and full size bounce house, along with costumes and toys.

Parents are invited to bring their kids, 9 years and younger to Caterpillar for play and to partake in semi-private music, dance and art classes led by professional teachers, Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Yesika Baker, owner of Caterpillar and mother of a 4-year-old son, searched for at least eight months for the right location to open her business, but said she ran into an uncooperative spirit and obstacles in other cities. A Pasadena resident, she noticed an available space in Town Center and found City Hall and the local chamber of commerce to be very open to her business vision.

“From the first day I had a good feeling. All of the people in La Cañada, in the building department and the chamber of commerce were so amazing, so friendly,” Baker said.

Part of Baker’s business plan included introducing children to the concept of being environmentally conscious, so Baker used recycled materials for decor, low toxic paint and wood, rather than plastic, for the play sets and kids’ toys. She also installed dual flush toilets and automatic sink faucets in the bathrooms to help reduce water waste.

Baker also sought to make Caterpillar a parent-friendly environment as well; a place where parents can check their email using the free wireless Internet connection, and take a break from all the hearty play by relaxing on comfy couches and bean bag chairs.

City council members, all four members of the Miss La Canada Flintridge Royal Court and officials from the chamber of commerce attended the ribbon cutting. After attending the ribbon cutting, Taani Ahluwalia of the Royal Court joked, “This’ll be the reason I might lose all my babysitting jobs.”

City Councilman Michael Davitt said the indoor playground is a “great addition” to the Town Center. “Our community values its kids,” he said, “and I’m always excited about businesses coming in that can be supportive to the needs of our residential community.”

Reporter Joe Piasecki contributed to this report.

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