When Bold Beans, the social enterprise of Girls Inc. of Metro Denver, moved its coffee shop into STEAM on the Platte last summer, a coffee truck was part of the organization's long-term goals. Now, less than a year later, the Bold Beans crew has its truck and is planning to hit the streets beginning Wednesday, June 19.
JJ Dearmore, director of social enterprise for the Denver branch of Girls Inc., led the charge in expanding the reach of Bold Beans with a mobile coffee shop, including applying for a grant from United Way. "They were seeking out innovation in the community, and opened it up only to women-serving nonprofits," says Dearmore. Bold Beans won out of nine applicants, securing enough money to purchase a truck. Girls Inc. also held a crowdfunding campaign to raise additional money needed for startup costs. Lost Coffee formerly owned the truck, so it was already outfitted for coffee sales, but minor changes and repairs were necessary, including a new exterior wrap with the Bold Beans logo.
Currently, eight girls are employed at Bold Beans, but Dearmore hopes the addition of the truck will increase opportunities. "We are using it as a tool to provide more jobs to teens girls, expand our hours in the summer, along with creating an additional platform to see business expansion and operate business units," she explains. Currently, Bold Beans at STEAM on the Platte only operates when the building is open, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The coffee truck will allow the cafe to increase its hours and help more girls get job experience and training.
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Bold Beans at STEAM on the Platte recently introduced Mame's breakfast burritos to its menu, which already included a wide assortment of pastries and grab-and-go items popular with the building's tenants because of limited food options in the surrounding area. "Our food menu [on the truck] will be a little more limited, so we can be more focused on coffee," Dearmore notes. "We'll have a similar coffee menu, and are looking to do the burritos and maybe some breakfast sandwiches, but we're going to focus on the coffee piece and making sure we are a coffee truck versus a food truck."
In keeping with its theme and mission of empowering girls and women, Bold Beans exclusively serves coffee from Copper Door, the Denver-based roaster owned by Hannah Ulbrich, who is providing the young baristas with roasting and latte art training, as well as teaching coffee cuppings to give the Bold Beans teen employees a solid foundation in coffee flavors. So far, seven program graduates have found employment because of the experience gained working for Bold Beans.
To celebrate, the truck's unveiling will take place at Mile High United Way (711 Park Avenue West), and then business will grow slowly to allow ample time to iron out kinks and adjust to the smaller space. Going forward, expect to see the Bold Beans Coffee Truck (nickname pending) at festivals, corporate events and outside the CDOT headquarters just across the South Platte River from the original cafe.