Cloud Coffee, located in front of the Tyler School of Art, opened in January 2013 to bring more coffee culture to Temple, something co-owners Kristen Mills and Matthew Craig said they felt Main Campus lacked.
The two have recently announced that Cloud will be expanding, taking on a second truck to sell their products citywide.
Although the truck parked on Main Campus is technically mobile, Tyler alumni Mills and Craig said they usually decline invitations to serve their coffee at events like weddings and parties because the design and structure of the truck make it unfit to travel.
“Expanding is something we’ve been talking about since the day we started,” Mills said. “We said that this thing that we wanted to do was a lot bigger than how we understood it at that time.”
After searching the Internet for a suitably mobile truck,
Craig found one for sale in Arizona.
“We wanted something that was already done and ready to go so we could just get it here, paint it and get the permits together – just something more doable for us,” Mills said. “The one we found was actually a coffee van, and it’s big and already has the setup in it. It will allow us to just pull up somewhere and start selling coffee.”
After buying the truck, Craig and Mills said they realized they would need to fundraise for a new paint job, permits and the expenses of transport. The owners will throw a fundraising party on Sunday from 6-11 p.m. at Crane Arts on 1400 N. American St. Admission to the party, which will include music and raffles, is $10.
“We want to raise as much money as possible,” Mills said. “We have to put in money to host something like this as well, but we just want to get enough money to help us get started and hopefully have the truck running by mid-summer.”
The second truck will have the Cloud logo to be easily recognizable, but the owners said they may add a lightning bolt to complement the truck’s weather theme. Although they are still unsure of how they plan to manage both of the trucks, Mills and Craig plan to be more present within various Philadelphia neighborhoods and events like First Fridays, the Night Market and film festivals.
Mills and Craig said they are also looking forward to the approaching deadline for applicants for this year’s Cloud Prize, which calls for artists across the nation to submit their artwork for consideration by a curator. That curator will choose between one and three recipients to receive an award of up to $1,000. The deadline for submissions, along with the $20 submission fee, is May 26.
“The Cloud Prize is the thing that I get most excited about,” Mills said. “It’s basically our way to tap into us being artists and looking for ways to give back to other artists. What I’d like to see from the submissions is an inside view of what people are doing. I’m really open in terms of what I think art is, so I encourage everything, from performance to paintings.”
Mills and Craig said they anticipate having to adjust their management strategies as they take on the operation of an additional truck.
“It took a year and a half of doing this for us to realize that taking on another vehicle would mean that Matt and I need to figure out these things together, but it’s doable,” Mills said. “It’s almost like we need to go smaller to go bigger. We know that what we’re doing is something that people see as vital and relevant.”
Ariane Pepsin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.