WALLINGFORD — A longtime friendship and passion for coffee brought four town residents together to start a mobile coffee truck business.
Matt and Shannon Oneto and Glenn and Julie Murphy opened The Rogue Coffee Co., a remote coffee shop, in November. The truck offers a variety of hot or iced coffee, smoothies and cafe snacks. The traveling coffee truck will be available for weddings, parties and corporate functions. The owners expect to be have regular business hours in the spring.
Co-Owner Matt Oneto said the founders wanted to bring a “New York coffee shop” to Wallingford. The four friends thought of the idea a few years ago but didn't get rolling until 6 months ago when they decided to pursue the business venture. Oneto said the idea to open the coffee truck came when the group realized that there was a desire for a mobile coffee business but there was nothing like it in town.
“We spend a lot of time at events with our kids and everyone’s always wanting that great cup of coffee,” Matt Oneto said.
Co-founder Glenn Murphy began bringing coffee to his children’s games and giving away coffee for free. Murphy said the group decided to start the business when they realized there was a market for it.
“There are no concessions in Wallingford and after years of bringing our children to these events we decided there should be some kind of refreshment counter here,” said Glenn Murphy.
When brainstorming ideas for the name of the company Murphy mentioned he would run the business regardless of the name and put coffee in the back of his Nissan Rogue SUV. The group liked the idea of being rogue coffee makers because Oneto said it wasn’t what they usually did. Wife Shannon Oneto said neither of the partners has ever worked in the foodservice industry and she said it’s been fun to learn something new.
“We found this trailer (and) it felt like it was kind of meant to be. Everything worked out for us to get it and since then it’s just been going very quickly,” Shannon Oneto said
The company hosted a CaFREEne Day Sunday and served free beverages to customers to promote the business. More than 100 residents visited the truck and Matt Oneto said the company has already booked several events. Their first event will be this Sunday, the Kiwanis Club Turkey Trot 5k road race.
Some of the challenges with running a coffee truck include the need for a lot of water and electricity because coffee equipment requires a lot of power. Matt Oneto said the owners purchased the truck from someone who used it for a coffee business as well. He said the vehicle has a large generator and was made specifically to make coffee. They would eventually like to open up a brick and mortar location in Wallingford.
“For us, this is an opportunity to do something a little smaller, that we can do,” Matt Oneto said. “But it’s growing, probably faster than I expected.”