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Trailer Perk Coffee is trading in its mobile trailer, which first hit the Queen City streets in 2017, for its premier brick-and-mortar location. The new digs, located at 2848 W. Chestnut in northwest Springfield, will host a grand opening Sept. 18, owner Amber Ottoson said.
A “staunch Westsider,” Ottoson always wanted her coffeeshop to bring fresh faces to her favorite neighborhood. She closed on the property more than a year ago, so the vibrant storefront in West Springfield has been in the works for quite some time.
“I love this side of town and we’re kind of underutilized, though we are growing very rapidly over here,” Ottoson said. “It seemed like a good place to start.”
While a 7 Brew Coffee opened not too long ago near her storefront, the area hasn’t seen a coffee-shop explosion in the last few years like downtown or some south side neighborhoods, Ottoson said. Those places “have a lot of coffee options.”
Only ‘white coffee’ in Springfield
Trailer Perk boasts it’s the only place in town to get ‘white coffee,’ a concoction conceived in the Pacific Northwest that sports a unique flavor by barely roasting the beans, Ottoson said.
The drink is the perfect “non-coffee-drinker’s coffee,” Ottoson said. White coffee has all the caffeine of normal espresso — because none has been burnt out in the roast — without the acidic aftertaste, she said.
The special brew helps her “bring a little bit of the Northwest to the Midwest,” Ottoson said.
Historic burgers meet coffee
Ottoson knew she wanted to purchase the property for the coffeeshop, not lease. A business mentor and former boss in Spokane, Washington, who closed her business when her landlord decided to sell the building that housed her store, is the inspiration behind her investment.
“If you ever go into business yourself, babe,” Ottoson said, retelling her mentor’s advice, “own the dirt, don’t own the blue sky.”
And it just so happened the property she chose has historical significance, as it’s the original site of Red’s Giant Hamburg, Ottoson said. Reds, which reopened in 2019, is rumored to be the site of the first drive-thru in America.
“The history of this spot is not lost on me,” Ottoson said. “I’m grateful to Springfield for allowing me to grow and I’m excited to put something exciting on the northwest side of Springfield.”
Springfield home, Queen City partners
Ottoson said she has gone out of her way to ensure everything sold in the coffee shop is made locally. She buys beans from local, small roasters. All of her grab-and-go pastries are from small, local Springfield bakeries.
“There are no big-box items,” Ottoson said.
And to those Trailer Perk enthusiasts, don’t worry, their beloved pink flamingo mascot, Rosie, has a spot in the new home. She can be seen in a mural on the side of the store.
Ottoson sold the old trailer in July, but its buyers have the intention to keep its coffee-slinging spirit alive, by opening another mobile espresso trailer soon, she said.
Ottoson will likely have some skilled help on the weekends, she said, as her husband, Peter, and their two children are quick to lend a hand when she needs help.
Her kids “will probably have Trailer Perk Coffee on their resume as their first job,” she said. Laughing, she added “whether they like it or not.”