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  1. #1
    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Default Checking in...

    I've been gone for awhile, lurking a little. Just wanted to stop in and say hello and tell you what all I've been up to.

    I'm in Illinois right now with my family. My daughters and I drove out here about a week and a half ago. I'm not sure how long I'll stay, but the I'm here to get a business up and running and the plan is to stay until I get it started. We're starting a mobile coffee stand, almost exactly like the coffee kiosks that are all over the Seattle area.

    So far it's going better than expected considering I know (or knew) almost nothing about coffee or running a business just two weeks ago. I've been handling most of the ugly paperwork side, and moms been handling a lot of the planning of the equipment research. A couple days ago she called a guy about some gear about an hour away, and he referred us to another guy who handles nothing but coffee. This guy buys out other coffee businesses, so he was selling almost everything we need. He even offered share recipes and teach us how to work it as long as we weren't going to be invading his market.

    Sounds to good to be true, right? Well, we met him yesterday in his shop. He fed us custard, gave us an amazing Colombian espresso that I've been daydreaming about ever since, and he gave us a complete tour of his kitchen and all his equipment. Not I only that, but he also talked to us for quite awhile about his business strategies, how to make good coffee, what sells, what doesn't, etc. (He says that he's never purchased new equipment.) He even operates his own coffee trailers as part of his business. When we finally pick up our equipment, he's actually going to train us how to use it. Anyway, all said and done he's brought our costs down by t least $10,000. I estimated worst case scenario, it would cost us 16k to buy it new. We're looking at getting it for 3k from him. He'll likely end up being our bean supplier as well, since he does that out of his cafe. I can't even tell you how amazing it was to meet this guy after being so discouraged and overwhelmed just the hours before.

    Tomorrow were going to look at a truck that we'll hopefully be able to refit for coffee. Right now it's being used as a hot dog truck. So, wish me luck?

    We're still working out the details of the menu. A lot will just depend on how much room we have. We have an orchard just a mile or two away and I look forward to selling warm apple cider in the fall. Mom keeps adding stuff to our menu and we're already butting heads over it. I want to keep it simple.

    Dad doesn't think there's money in coffee, and that maybe i should sell hot dogs instead. (My brother had a much better idea... Hot dogs AND coffee.) Everyone wants to add stuff to the menu because it seems so simple, I think. Sandwiches, hot dogs, popcorn? At first I didn't want to tell people my plan because it seemed so far fetched that I could pull it off... Now I don't want to tell people because they all want to do consulting work.

    We got a loan for the business. 35k, which was based on my worst case scenario estimate of costs. I think it's going to take way less than that. My husband gets his bonus in a couple months, and I'm hoping to have this paid off by the end of the year with the help of the bonus.

    So there it is. We're still early yet. Our next step is to get the truck and convert it. Then the paint job, recipe and menu setup, health department inspection... It's a lot of stuff to do but it's been a full time job since I got home so hopefully it won't take too long. I hope to leave it with my mom and one or two other employees when I'm done.

    I'll post pictures as we go along if you're interested.

    Anyway, hi FV. *waves*
    ~Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.~

    ~The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.~

  2. #2
    Registered User dcompton's Avatar
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    Wow! You've been busy! I wish you all the best, of course. It sounds like things are rolling along. Coffee's not good? People will kill for coffee!
    Donna

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    Registered User ferhoodled's Avatar
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    How exciting! Good luck in your new business venture. Can't wait to hear your updates!

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    Registered User sabrelvssammy's Avatar
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    Keep us posted and good luck to you!

    “After the last tree has been cut down, after the last river has been poisoned, after the last fish has been caught.
    Only then will you find that money can't be eaten.”

    ~ Cree Indian Prophecy










  5. #5
    Moderator nuisance26's Avatar
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    ~Wow, what a cool venture! I'm very interested since my brother has had his own coffee business for over a decade. You can so make a go of it. The guy you met sounds just like my brother. When you or your connections are passionate about something, it's contagious. I'm routing for you!~

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Congrats Nishu!! I think a coffee truck is an awesome idea! You're right, keep it simple and build from there...hot dogs & popcorn don't really seem like two items I'd pair with coffee unless you're my dad and drink coffee with every meal (old school way) but rather coffee & baked items - just like you'd see in a non mobile coffee shop.

    Can't wait to read updates and see pics

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    Registered User BlissMommy's Avatar
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    How very exciting. Congratulations!

  8. #8
    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. I really appreciate the encouragement. We went to check out he truck today and it's really a nice fit at a good price. Converting it shouldn't take too much, and we think we can set it up to do coffee without changing he interior too much. If it works as planned, mom and dad can convert it back to a food truck for lunch hour work or special occasions. We're pretty excited and I'm very grateful at how well ts going. I posted a couple pics on Facebook. Not sure it will work since I'm on my mobile, but here it is.
    https://m.facebook.com/?refsrc=http%...ser=1619886774
    ~Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.~

    ~The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.~

  9. #9
    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
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    Congratulations and good luck! I couldn't see the pictures but it sounds great. Will it be parked in one place or will it travel to different places? Your mom and dad are going to run it for you? It sounds exciting and wish you tons of good luck!
    Bank of America is THE godfather of Hell with Wells Fargo running neck and neck. When the world ends the only things that will be left are cockroaches, Walmart, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Not necessarily in that order. The order remains to be seen.

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  10. #10
    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Here might be a better link:

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...0&l=a4df0bc1e7

    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...2&l=16cbab8e33

    I'm a little irritated right now. My dad hasn't been the slightest bit supportive of my scheming, which is ok, whatever, he's allowed to be skeptical but it's getting to the point I've decided to stop discussing it with him. Initially he said There was no money in coffee, then it was the cost of the van he had a problem with. (14k for an operational, already equipped food truck is rock bottom.) he said I should buy a regular van and outfit it myself, since I have to leave in a month anyway. (I don't have to leave in a month, that's just my goal to get this up and running so I can leave. And I don't have the skills to do something like that anyway. I told him a month was when I was hoping to have it up and running by, and he basically told me it that was too optimistic because "things happen." So I cut that conversation short.

    Tonight I call him and tell him how perfect the van was and how we planned to set it up and he says "Well, I hope you don't lose your butts!"

    I asked him, "Why would you say something like that?" and he says he just wants me to do well. "Saying that you hope we don't lose our butts isn't the same as saying you hope we do well." So I promised to stop talking to him about it. There's only so much negativity you can let roll off your back before things start to get to you. It stings.

    Anyway, things are looking pretty good. All our equipment is going to be used and I'm fairly confident that if things go south I can sell it and get what I put into it. The cost of the loan isn't going to be a hardship though, so as long as the truck can sustain itself I'll be happy. Any of my family back here will be capable of operating it, so with a little luck we'll have work available for anyone who needs it. (And around here, everyone needs it.)

    I've already got plans for my next project. At the school my husband goes to, there's no hot food or coffee, just machines and a convenience store. I might talk to someone on base about a starting a coffee truck out there. I know it will be profitable as long as there's no other coffee shops on base I don't know about. With a little money and a little luck, I can get one started on base, hire a couple military spouses from the base next door, and create 2 or 3 flexible, decent paying jobs for the mil spouses. Anyway I guess I'll have to see how this one works out first!
    ~Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.~

    ~The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.~

  11. #11
    Registered User NikoSan999's Avatar
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    AH...these pix turned out NICE!!! Very attractive vehicle and the inside is nice too. Well I'm sure all of us here are wishing you good will and good luck. Maybe you'll do well enough to have a chain of them.
    Bank of America is THE godfather of Hell with Wells Fargo running neck and neck. When the world ends the only things that will be left are cockroaches, Walmart, Wells Fargo and Bank of America. Not necessarily in that order. The order remains to be seen.

    Challenges
    Coupon Sales Challenge/August
    $

    Coupons for Year / $745.54

    August/ Grocery
    /Goal $175.00 Total

    Groceries for Year minus Jan & Feb
    $504.98

    Eat Out No More Sept
    Goal 20
    Accomp/1


    No Spend Challenge
    Goal 10
    Accomp/1

    Change Jar 2014
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    Christmas Fund 2014
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    Emergency/Sinking
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  12. #12
    Moderator ladytoysdream's Avatar
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    Good luck with the truck, it looks great

    There is always going to be someone who is negavtive about things. The less you talk about your plans with them, the better your stress level will be.

    I agree on keeping the menu simple.

    We have 3 coffee shops locally that are privately owned by one person.
    Not chain stores. Two are in tiny buildings that cars can pull up on either side in a line to get coffee. The 3rd one they opened is in a building that was lasted used as a beauty salon. It's on a corner at 2 main roads. VERY busy intersection. Sigh. And the intersection that I have to use when going to town. It is a busy coffee shop. They also sell pastries, but those are not made on site. They buy them. I have only been in the coffee shop 1x.
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    Best of luck to you! I know you will do well.
    I saved 100% by buying nothing. Best sale of the year.

  14. #14
    Registered User nodmicks's Avatar
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    How exciting Nishu! Best of luck on your new venture!

  15. #15
    Registered User Nishu's Avatar
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    Today I took the test to get a food handler's certification and I registered the business with the dept of revenue. I'll know on Thursday whether I passed the test.

    We've taken out the freezer and one of the sinks and the countertop on one side of the truck. The cabinet with the sink has been raised to match the height of the steam table and we're just going to put a new counter over the entire right side and back end for the workspace. The place that used to have the freezer and sink is going to be replaced with a 3 compartment sink and a handwashing sink as per health code.

    My stepdad is out getting a water tank now. We're storing it in the compartment where they used to store the propane tanks. Mom bought a countertop and is on her way home with it.

    We've taken all the decals off the truck and that was a ton of work. The paint job is actually quite nice. I had originally wanted to repaint the whole thing but we're going to run out of money eventually... I'm thinking about having the yellow sections repainted to a chocolate brown color and having the lettering on the truck match. The rest will be left white.

    The guy that sold us the coffee equipment is going to train my mom and my aunt on Tuesday. Originally he was going to train me but since I'm not going to work there, that doesn't make a lot of since. My aunt is going to be mom's backup (this is a one person operation) so she's going instead. I'm jealous. It's going to be fun.

    We're using square card to accept credit cards. Super easy and cheap. (If you have a small business and don't accept credit cards, you should look into it.)

    Dad is warming up to the idea now that he's getting the details. I'm still nervous. I have no idea if this is going to work, but putting it together is kind of fun. If it doesn't work out, I'll at least be able to sell the whole thing for what I put into it. The truck is way nicer and it will be a ready-to-go, in demand business by the time we're done. I'm just not sure the population here can support it. I guess we'll see. xD

    I'll post more pics when I get the chance.
    ~Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.~

    ~The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.~

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