Coffee van start-ups driving java boom
AFTER working as a butcher for 17 years, Kyle Summers decided to take a risk with something he was passionate about: running his own coffee van business.
"I got the idea after helping out my mate Mark Paterson with his coffee trailer at some sporting events, and it kind of went from there," he said.
After taking on a few sporting events on his own and enjoying the experience, Mr Summers decided to give the coffee van a go, after recognising the demand in a mobile coffee service.
Four weeks into the business, Mr Summers said the risk was paying off.
"It's been hard work, but you get out what you put in. It was a bit slow to start with but it's really picked up," he said.
"The biggest challenge now is getting out and making sure everyone is happy, but there is so much demand for it, you can only be in the one place at the one time."
Mr Summers' business is one of over half a dozen coffee vans that operate in the Clarence Valley.
One of the first to pioneer the coffee van business model in the valley was The Roving Coffee Pot.
Owner April Flavell-Adams has run the business for five-and-a-half years after moving to Grafton from Sydney and seeing the van for sale.
"The coffee van has taught me business skills as well as given me some independence, where I can work in the morning and have the afternoon to study," she said
Ms Flavell-Adams said the number of coffee vans had increased steadily over the past six months as more and more entrepreneurs look to take advantage of the business model.
"The convenience of the van is important, because we go to the people who can't leave the office and where cafes are a bit out of the way," she said.
"We're popular at children's sport and events because parents can't really duck out for a coffee because they're looking after their kids, and it's become an expected thing that people will be able to get a coffee wherever they go."
Ms Flavell-Adams said there hasn't been any conflict between the vans and established cafes.
"I've got a pretty much established schedule with specific stops, and we have to be mindful of the regulations from council."