City Fruit is powered -- literally and figuratively -- by Kendra Vaughn. Every weekday, the young entrepreneur gets up at 5 a.m. to pack a bicycle cart full of the freshest produce she can find. Then she prepares for a day of fighting downtown traffic, dressing for battle in layers of down jackets, sweaters, hats, gloves and boots. As City Fruit's only vendor, she has to be prepared to handle everything Colorado's whiplash weather throws her way if she's going to deliver healthy food -- chiefly seasonal fruit cups, colorful salads and delicious yogurt parfaits -- to downtown Denver.
After Vaughn loads the cart with produce from her suppliers, Mrs. Condie's Salad Co. and Del Monte Fresh Produce Co., she starts making the rounds to designated "postings" throughout downtown, traveling anywhere from Civic Center Plaza to the Justice Center. She sticks around each station for about thirty minutes, then moves around town "until the food runs out, about one-ish," the says.
Though Vaughn is in the driver's seat, City Fruit isn't a one-man show. The concept of a mobile fruit cart was conceived by her business partner, Mac McCreless, when he was working in an office downtown. But he didn't have the time to dedicate to City Fruit, so he called on Vaughn. Together, they got the first cart on the streets on January 2.
Now Vaughn is out every day, "toughing it out" through rain, shine and even the occasional blizzard. "We pride ourselves on being green," she says, so City Fruit has no plans to go diesel, although the company is considering "getting studded snow tires" for the bike, she notes.
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In addition to its station stops, City Fruit also provides a free delivery service -- with no minimum orders. They've done "hundreds of small orders," says Vaughn, who does all the deliveries herself in her signature vehicle.