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Sandhill Coffee Using Mobile Cafe Trailer to Serve Coffee to Chicago Suburbs

How does a small coffee company expand from selling at localfarmer’s markets on the weekend to a full-time mobile coffee shop?

With a concession trailer!

That’s just what Phil Wingo did for his local smallbusiness, Sandhill Coffee.

“Farmer’s markets are great, but I don’t want to do them every weekend for the rest of my life,” Wingo explained. “What’s the next step? How do I grow? In the coffee world, the natural thought is a café. But then Covid happened and it just wasn’t a good time to get into a physical location. Then we came up with the mobile idea.”

Food truck or concession trailer?

Wingo initially had his sights set on a traditional step van food truck, but a late-night research session on YouTube gave him the idea to use a concession trailer for his mobile coffee shop.

“I had never really thought of that, so I googled to see if there were any close to me,” he said. “Advantage Trailer came up and I was shocked that you guys were only 20 minutes away from me. I looked through your inventory and you had a smaller one that was perfect for what I was thinking. The next morning, I called as soon as you opened, and it was still available, so I came in and put a down payment on it.”

The 7’x12′ Discovery concession trailer allowed Wingo to significantly decrease his setup time. Instead of having to unload his car and set up a 10×10 pop-up tent and all of his product and supplies at each event, he has everything loaded up in the trailer, and all he has to do is pull up, turn on the generator, open the concession window, and he’s ready to start serving.

It has opened the world up

“It’s much easier to get a sale now, because people can just walk up, get a cup of coffee or a latte, and be on their way,” Wingo said. “Having that instant product is definitely beneficial. The trailer has also helped me get into more events. It has opened the world up to private events and going to serve businesses. I’ve done a couple of festivals in Michigan already. It totally makes me seem more legit and it’s an automatic magnet for people.”

So why did Wingo choose a concession trailer over a traditional food truck for his mobile coffee shop? It all came down to cost, time, and quality.

“For the trailer, everything was already built out – plumbing, electrical, floors, walls, ceiling. It was done,” Wingo explained. “For the price I got a brand-new completed trailer, that’s how much it would have cost me to get just a food truck. Then, I would have to buy all the supplies and all the materials for the buildout. And for that price range, a food truck would have had 200,000 or 300,000 miles, early 2000s model, and really beat up.

A better option

“So, when weighing those options, it was really not comparable. The concession trailer is the way better option.”

After spending time in the pharmaceutical industry, Wingo started Sandhill Coffee after trying different coffees at the hospital cafeteria while his son was born. He hadn’t planned to get into coffee, but he was struck by the different flavors he tasted, so he started looking into it. He bought a couple of books on coffee and a home coffee roaster and taught himself how to roast.

Four years ago, Wingo signed up to his first farmer’s market, selling bags of roasted coffee, and now he offers several different blends and single origins that he sources directly from farms and co-ops. The trailer has allowed Wingo to expand to selling brewed coffee and coffee drink at events, and while he hopes to eventually get a brick-and-mortar café and roastery, he also has plans to open more mobile coffee shop trailers.

He currently operates his trailer in downtown Lisle most days of the week, so you can catch him there or at other local events. You can also order his roasted coffee though his website and follow him on Instagram and Facebook to see where he will be next.

Could your business benefit from asmall concession trailer? Well, you’re in luck! As of early October, wecurrently have two 7’x12’ concession trailers exactly like this one in-stock.

Give us a call at 630-524-2029 fora quote, or come see it in person on our lot in Carol Stream.

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