“After abandoning engineering as a major in college at Texas Tech, I graduated with a BFA in Design. Outside of a few short-term gigs, I worked for two major agencies in Albuquerque for a total of 26 years. The most recent has been a great experience with talented people, but I’ve known for a few years that I needed to move on to something new. After researching some options including a brick-and-mortar coffee idea, I decided I’d look for a vintage trailer to start a mobile coffee business. Through personal preference and some baking experimentation by my older daughter, I decide to make scones my feature item to go with the coffee biz. I located a 1964 Airstream in original condition in 2016, and commenced with a two-year tear down and rebuild. I thought it would go quicker than it has, but God has other ideas about the timing.” – Stan
What made you choose coffee as the base of your business?
Thanks to the development of the industry by Starbucks, and other smaller specialty coffee companies, the coffee business is booming. And in a market like Albuquerque, it still has room to grow. I started drinking specialty coffee on visits to Portland, OR years ago, before a Starbucks existed in Albuquerque. As my appreciation for a really good cup of joe grew, the industry exploded here.
As they say, do something that you are passionate about, and I can say I’m passionate about coffee. Knowing that the industry in the past did not focus on sustainability or fair trade, I definitely hope to contribute in a small way to the further improvement of the livelihood of coffee growers and their communities. That’s an important part if what the specialty coffee industry is about.
Has this experience made you uneasy?
Much of the time, I’ve paused to think “What am I doing?” I’ve been an employee in the design and advertising industry for over 25 years. I don’t have a history of starting and running a private enterprise. However, I do trust in the guidance I believe God has provided along the way. From the first seed of an idea, to the pieces that have fallen into place without my effort, I keep seeing it as the correct next stage if our lives (my wife is inextricably involved, no escaping that.)
I will continue to have uneasiness about it, post-launch. I’ll have more to learn and hope to see it provide a decent income. But the opportunity to serve will be there regardless, and I believe that’s the main purpose. Aside from brewing excellent coffee.
How have you dealt with God’s timing for this project?
My expectations about timing have been way off most of the time. I have seen some reasons why I was still on staff at McKee Wallwork & Co. beyond what I expected. Aside from doing my job, I needed to continue contributing in spite of the feeling that I was done with that type of work for awhile. Perseverance and patience are qualities I still have to grow.
I can’t pretend some timing delays haven’t frustrated me. But I try to remember it’s all His anyway, so why fret?
How have your previous jobs helped with this new venture?
I’ve developed a decent understanding of what makes a good business. Especially how marketing and branding apply, how much consideration needs to be given in planning (concepting) stages. I learned a lot about the value of visual appeal, and to whom I am trying to appeal.
I also became a cynical critic of advertising, and sometimes of trends. So that cynicism of certain trends in the coffee business fed my marketing plan. There’s a place for every type of business, if it can succeed. But I believe many other people, especially in and around my age group, have similar thoughts and feelings.
Can you tell us more about specialty coffee?
First I’ll admit I’m not as well versed as some coffee people are. But specialty coffee for me refers to the local roasters, making small batches of a variety of beans. (Coffee beans are actually the pit of a berry, not a bean.) It also includes small, local coffee shops. It can be everything from standard brewers to trendy pour overs and other gadgets. I prefer standard coffee brewing myself.
It’s amazing to see God’s Hand in projects like this! How does your faith encourage you to serve?
I’ve hoped God is leading throughout this process, and going forward. I think faith in God’s will and timing helps we deal with setbacks, after complaining about them. Being a Christian, we should be aware of opportunities to serve others. And I do see that as a part of what I’m doing.
If you could give Jesus a cup of coffee, what would that look like? What kind would you give Him and what would you talk about with Him?
An interesting question. I would immediately recognize him at my window, I’m sure. After however long it would take me to get over seeing him, I might just pour a good brewed coffee and walk outside to hand it to him, and hope he’d stick around and talk while he finished it.
Where do you plan on taking your business?
If it happened to grow enough, I’d consider opening a small brick-and-mortar shop. But I don’t see that as a goal. I want it to create enough income to keep doing it for awhile. 10 years, 20, whatever winds up working out. And I hope it winds up providing ministry opportunities.
Do you have a “launch” date?
We launched August 27th, 2018.
The prep time, early mornings and late nights, are not great to deal with. But once I’m open and serving customers, it’s worth the effort.
Stan opened in August! You can view his schedule through his social media pages! I’m grateful for the time he took to share about his new business venture. I wish him the best of luck and can’t wait to see how he does in Albuquerque!