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Trailer Perk Coffee does business at the Greater Springfield Farmers' Market.
Trailer Perk Coffee does business at the Greater Springfield Farmers' Market.

Mobile coffee shop hits the streets

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A coffee entrepreneur is bringing Northwest-style caffeinated beverages to the Queen City.

Amber Ottoson yesterday informally launched Trailer Perk Coffee LLC at Greater Springfield Farmers' Market before the company’s official debut scheduled July 15. A former Spokane, Washington, resident and 10-year coffee industry worker, mostly as a barista, Ottoson and her husband moved to Springfield four years ago.

“We have little coffee huts on every corner. I missed that so much,” she said of Spokane. “I’m bringing a bit of the Northwest to the Midwest.”

Trailer Perk Coffee’s sole employee, Ottoson spent $30,000 on startup costs, including the purchase of an 8-by-10-foot trailer that serves as the company’s mobile base of operations.

“The investment was peanuts compared with investing in a brick and mortar,” she said. “You really don’t need that much space. If you’ve got a great project and a really go-get-'em attitude, you can serve coffee anywhere.”

Ottoson purchases supplies from Spokane-based Thomas Hammer Coffee Roasters and St. Louis-based Ronnoco Coffee LLC. Trailer Perk’s menu includes a white chocolate mocha, which she said takes the “bitterness and full-body taste that people find unappealing about espresso and eliminates it,” as well as Italian-style soda topped with whipped cream.

Ottoson paid the yearly fee of $275 to park at Greater Springfield Farmers' Market outside Battlefield Mall from 8 a.m. through noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. She’s also in talks with businesses to serve coffee on-site.

The company’s website indicates Trailer Perk will operate at the farmer’s market through Oct. 31, but Ottoson said the schedule isn’t nailed down. She also considered Farmers Park, but said they were full on occupancy when she checked and had more expensive rates than the market at Glenstone Avenue and Battlefield Road. She also didn’t want to compete with Alice Oh’s The Press Coffee & Juice Bar at Farmers Park.

“I’m not trying to step on any toes or compete with another local person,” Ottoson said, noting at Greater Springfield Farmers' Market, there are two nearby Starbucks stores to contend with.

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