In this episode of “Behind The Counter,” your host Andy Didorosi talks with Drifter Coffee Founder Alleah Webb about how she turned a 1971 Serro Scotty trailer into a coffee shop on wheels.
After spending six months fixing up a trailer with her dad, Alleah established a mobile coffee shop in May 2015. She says she knew she wanted to start her own business after taking a class on entrepreneurship at Central Michigan University. However, even though Alleah was determined to be her own boss, she couldn’t decide on a location for her business, which is why the trailer she found on Craigslist was a perfect fit.
Since launching Drifter Coffee, Alleah says she’s learned some valuable lessons that weren’t covered in the class she took in college. She starts her days at 5 a.m., and hasn’t had much time to relax– she’s developed “some serious grit” from the grueling schedule, and also, how to effectively balance her life. “Every six weeks or so, I take a weekend off and do the things that 26-year-olds are supposed to do,” she says.
Alleah sets up at Eastern Market and various events around town. She says the majority of her work is in Detroit, but early on, she was regularly traveling around the Metro area. Banter and friendship are important factors in her business partnerships, which is part of the reason she uses the Ypsilanti-based Hyperion Coffee Company as her primary java source. The other crucial factors that went into her decision to use Hyperion beans are simply that “their coffee is really good,” and they deliver, which saves some time for her each week.
Next season, Alleah says she’s planning to hire a manager, so that she can look after other aspects of the business, while allowing it to expand and grow. Currently, Drifter does three to four days of events each week, but by next season, Alleah hopes to increase that to six or even seven days.
Toward the end of this episode, we decided to try something new: a totally ridiculous pop quiz related to absolutely nothing concerning Alleah’s profession or business. It was pretty fun, and we’re hoping to continue tuning the show’s format to make it as fun to listen to, as it is to put together each week. Additional topics in this conversation include sticking ice cubes down your shirt on hot days, potential beef with “big coffee,” Stephen King, professional rally driver Ken Block and Johnny Appleseed.
Episode credits: Music by Broke For Free. Episode edited by Annamarie Sysling