The opening of a Madison business that would offer snuggle time for those in need has been delayed.
The Snuggle House, 123 E. Main St., was scheduled to open Tuesday but that was postponed because city and fire inspections had not been completed, an occupancy permit had not been issued and city concerns were yet not addressed, according to Timothy Casper, the business’ lawyer.
Jennifer Zilavy, assistant city attorney, said she has yet to see a business plan for the small company, which aims to provide therapy through touch.
Zilavy contacted the business two weeks ago after seeing its advertisement on Craigslist asking for professional snugglers.
“We had no idea what their plan was or what their intent was,” Zilavy said.
She recently met with Casper, business owner Matthew Hurtado, business manager Hannah Rode, and Madison Police Lt. David McCaw to talk about the city’s concerns and the business’ lack of plans.
Since the meeting, “I still have not seen a business plan,” Zilavy said. “I don’t know what they have done as far as training their staff to respond to potential sexual assaults and that type of thing.”
Hurtado said he and his staff are hard at work since the meeting with Zilavy. He sees the city as a “blessing to help us do it right.”
“I really want to be on their side,” Hurtado said. “The purpose is that we can create something that is unique, is refreshing, is new ... They came in to make sure all of our ducks were in a row.”
Since the meeting, Hurtado said he created a 70-page business manual that includes business plans, procedures and safety information.
Also included is training information that his four professional snugglers have gone through that covers business procedures and how to handle difficult situations, such as inappropriate touching by clients.
Casper said the business will not open until it is legally allowed to operate and city concerns have been addressed. He said he and Hurtado would like to sit down with the city attorney’s office next week after the inspections are complete and a permit has been issued to “go over the business and lack of comfort over some of the business.”
He added that “this is obviously a unique concept.”
“We want to work with them and not have this be an adversarial relationship,” Casper said.