Cady King loves the word “proprietor.”
The word is painted in purple next to her name on the window outside of her café, Cady’s Café, in the Inverness Regional Shopping Center on U.S. 41.
“I love that,” she told a Chronicle reporter.
Cadence “Cady” King, 12, is the proprietor of the breakfast and lunch café that bears her name.
The business is hers, a future inheritance from her grandmother, Inverness businesswoman Dawn Regan.
Regan, a real estate broker, owns Great American Realty & Investments and also Worth Repeating Upscale Resale and Unique Gifts. Both businesses are neighbors of the café.
Regan’s son, Cady’s father, Edward King III, is general manager of all three businesses. He is also the chef at the café.
However, this story actually begins with an oil drilling business in Pennsylvania.
“My mother and father had the oil business, and from an early age, my mother taught me everything about running a business,” Regan said. “Then when Cady’s dad was a baby, I took him to work with me.
“So now, with Cady, who’s my oldest grandchild, I want her to understand business, how to start one, what it takes to be in business, from mopping the floor to budgeting and buying, finding out what customers like,” she said.
It was shortly before Cady turned 11 that she overheard her grandma and her dad talking about opening a café in her name.
“I heard her talking, and I have this thing: I like to butt into people’s conversations like a lot of kids do,” Cady said. “When I heard about a café in my name, I was excited about it.”
Because Cady the café proprietor is also Cady the sixth-grade student at Solid Rock Christian Academy, on the days school is in session she’s not able to be at the café, but that doesn’t mean she’s not involved.
“We run everything by her and she makes the decisions,” her dad said.
She gives the OK about menu items and the décor. She designed the logo and chose the colors and the font used on the website.
After the café opened in August, Cady worked there briefly until school started, taking counter orders, making specialty coffee drinks, even delivering food orders to the other businesses in the shopping plaza.
“When people come in, they can look for my apron,” she said.
She hangs her black “Cady’s Café” apron on a hook to the left as you enter the front door.
“If it’s there, that means I’m not,” she said. “But sometimes people like the way I make their coffee, so if my apron’s not there, they can ask someone, ‘Can I have mine made by Cady?’ and when I get back I will.”
Since the café opened, Cady has learned much about opening a business.
“Like, first you have to find out how much money it costs to open and then find an investor,” she said. “Then you need to see what it would be called and what you would do.”
For Cady, her grandma is her investor, and her dad is her chef and general manager.
Colton, her 6-year-old brother, helped collaborate on the menu, which has evolved since they first opened.
At first everything was prepackaged, but after remodeling the kitchen area they’re able to serve fresh, made-to-order menu items, including signature sandwiches.
“Me, my dad and my brother were in the car one day after school and my dad asked if we wanted to serve sandwiches at the café,” Cady said. “I said I wanted grilled cheese, so we all designed our own signature sandwich. Mine is called ‘The Cady.’ It’s grilled cheese with sourdough bread, Colby Jack cheese, bacon and avocado ranch dipping sauce.”
She even had the idea of offering a kid’s lunch, which they named “The 6-Year-Old Lunch,” a simple grilled American cheese sandwich and tomato soup for dipping.
Another thing Cady is learning: how to partner with other local businesses.
Every morning at 6:30 a.m. Fresh Start Donuts in Beverly Hills delivers fresh doughnuts, pastries, fritters, muffins, bagels and croissants to the café where they’re put into the front display case.
Cady also has her own coffee blend, made by Cattle Dog Coffee Roasters.
Customers can enjoy a cup and then take home a bag of “Cady’s Signature Coffee Blend” beans.
“I’m always thinking about new things,” Cady said. “We’re planning on doing an idea from a restaurant in Ocala, glazed croissants. We already have croissants, but we could have chocolate filled and regular glazed. I think that would be really good.”
For Cady’s dad, the café is a place where he can do what he loves, namely cook, and where he can teach his daughter the way his mom taught him.
“I love that I get to bring Cady to work, like my mom brought me and my Nona brought my mom,” King said. “We’ll be adjusting our hours and opening on the weekends to give her a chance to be here more, and during the summer (and school vacation days) she’ll be able to be here and learn the business inside out.”
He said they want to stay small and quaint, but increase business through DoorDash delivery and maybe catering.
“Right now we’re still getting things going,” he said.
The long-term plan and the purpose is for Cady to be able to provide for herself when she’s older.
“My ultimate goal is for her to learn it, learn it well, and enjoy it,” Regan said. “I want her to love it. ... As she gets older and she works it, then one day it will become hers. But she has to earn it. She has to live it and work it and make it hers.”
Currently, Cady's Café is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visit the website at CadysCafe.com. Follow on Facebook at Cady's Café. Phone: 352-503-2663.