Friday, Jul. 06, 2012
Cup - O - Laughs
New Harrisonville business brews up coffee, jokes
Sharing their coffee connoisseur instincts, the Brew HaHa’s mobile coffee truck is the newest business rolling through the streets of Harrisonville.
The business’ motto, “java and jokes to jump start your day,” provides a bit of insight as to how they do just that.
The idea of Bill Filer, 41, and his wife, Jill, 40, Harrisonville, the coffee shop was once a Lance Potato Chip delivery truck now outfitted to now deliver a variety of hot and cold beverages - everything from espresso, brewed or blended coffees, to smoothies, hot chocolate and chai teas - for those needing to add a refreshment or shot of caffeine to their routine.
“This is full-service coffee shop on wheels,” Bill said. “There’s not a coffee drink that we can’t do on the truck.”
You can even pick up a some breakfast fare, such as a muffin or cinnamon roll.
And the owners promise that their quality service is fast.
“The important thing about a drive-thru is that you have to be quick,” Jill said. “The reason (people) want a drive-thru is because they want it quick.”
Bill had been at point in his career where he wanted to have his own business and be his own boss.
“We had been interested in opening a coffee shop for several years,” he said. “Other than just being a consumer for coffee, enjoying it, and loving the coffee shop experience, we were actually looking for a business we could get into for me. We knew that there was a need in town and the interest sort of duck-tailed.”
But for the Filers, the dream of building a physical coffee shop from the ground up, and one that included speedy service, was cost-prohibitive.
“One of the design elements that we really wanted was a drive-thru,” Bill said. “There’s a certain crowd that wants to come in, have their coffee, sit, and visit, read a magazine, or work on their computer, but there is great number of people that want to get their coffee and go to work or school.”
The Filers continued to brainstorm ideas. One morning, while sitting on the backyard deck sipping coffee, the coffee truck concept came to mind.
“Not only did it solve our building problem, but would also be something that would be unique and a talking point,” Bill said. “We’re big fans of Food Network and had seen Eat Street and a lot of shows about food trucks. We thought what a great idea it would to be have a mobile location where we could go to the people.”
Since opening the morning of May 1, the truck, which features a drive thru window, sets up shop in the parking lot of Westchester Lanes bowling alley from 7-9 a.m. From 9:30-10:30 a.m., the truck is at other locations throughout the city, including the Justice Center on Tuesdays, Rock Haven Medical Mall on Wednesdays, the Square (southwest corner) on Thursdays, and Fridays at Gaslight Shopping Center.
The truck location schedule is available on their website and Facebook page.
For the summer, the truck will be available at Gaslight Shopping Center or Southland Shopping Center daily from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.
Not only was Bill hoping to serve his community with their morning cup of joe, he also wanted to give his patrons something to snicker about as they made their way to work or school.
When developing his business model, he started planning to provide a “joke of the day” in hopes of sharing a few “hahas” to those who pull up to the truck.
Jokes are posted on their menu board hanging from the truck, and each drink includes a joke stickered on the cup sleeve.
“As we talked through it, we wanted there to be more than just coffee. We wanted it to be a positive way start to get you going,” Jill said. “A smile, a joke, a laugh...You know, good and well, however you start your day is going to be how the rest of your day will go. If something goes wrong in the morning, it’s going to be downhill from there.”
The Filers said that food trucks are a growing trend in Kansas City, fueled by followings created on social media outlets, Facebook and Twitter, but haven’t fully gained popularity south of the metropolitan as of yet.
Bill purchased the truck off of Craigslist from a gentleman in Iowa, and brought it back to have modifications done by Romans Enterprises in Garden City.
The truck was equipped with batteries, inverters and a generator to power the small appliances within the truck. Mini refrigerators are bolted to the truck’s floor, and sinks and running water were also added.
The Filers are using social media marketing as their primitive method for growing their business. The use Facebook and Twitter to update fans where the shop is set up, promotions, and of course, jokes.
“Whether they’re laughing at the joke, or they’re laughing at me because the joke was so bad, either way it’s pretty fun,” Bill said. “I’ve done a lot different things in my life, workwise, but I’ve never owned my own business and never had an entrepreneurial opportunity, so I’ve really been enjoying this.”
In addition to their regular hours, the truck also caters to special events, such as a recent basketball tournament at the high school, which have proven to be very successful.
The couple will also cater coffee to functions such as client/customer appreciation, meetings, fairs, and private parties.
Bill said he has enjoyed getting to know their customer and drink preferences.
“It’s pretty fun, too, now I’m starting to get people telling me jokes,” he said. “Some of them I could use.”