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Archive for Sunday, January 2, 2011

Coffee, cake hit the road

January 2, 2011

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CoffeeCakeKC is the name and, as the owners will tell you, slingin’ beans and buttercream in Kansas City, Mo., is their game.

Brian Jurgens, of Shawnee-based E.F. Hobbs Specialty Coffee, and Shawnee resident Renee Kloeblen, of Ms. Nene’s Takes the Cake Bakery, teamed up to create CoffeeCakeKC, a mobile truck that sells Kloeblen's boutique cupcakes and Jurgens’ coffee concoctions.

Brian Jurgens, of Shawnee-based E.F. Hobbs Specialty Coffee, and Shawnee resident Renee Kloeblen, of Ms. Nene’s Takes the Cake Bakery, teamed up to create CoffeeCakeKC, a mobile truck that sells Kloeblen's boutique cupcakes and Jurgens’ coffee concoctions.

A shiny, red mobile cupcakery and coffee bar is now roaming the streets stocked with boutique cupcakes and green coffee from two Johnson County entrepreneurs.

Renee Kloeblen of Ms. Nene’s Takes the Cake Bakery and Brian “Stubbie” Jurgens of E.F. Hobbs Specialty Coffee teamed up to create CoffeeCakeKC. The duo used social media to help their startup and continue to ride the Twitter wave as they peddle their oh-so-tasty goods.

Kloeblen, of Shawnee, is a former kindergarten teacher and mother of two. She turned her baking hobby into a business with the creation of Ms. Nene’s.

Kloeblen’s cupcakes bear names such as the “Ruby Slipper” (red velvet cake topped with white chocolate cream cheese frosting and edible red glitter) and “That’s Some Pig” (vanilla pound cake with candied bacon, topped with brown sugar buttercream and maple-syrup drizzle).

“I’m not a very traditional person, so I try to be as creative as possible,” she said. “There’s so many people making cupcakes right now, so you have to stand out.”

Jurgens, a self-described “corporate refugee,” turned his coffee hobby into a business when he started E.F. Hobbs a couple years ago, after taking a buyout from Sprint.

Jurgens, who lives in Lenexa and roasts his coffee in Shawnee, sells mostly single-origin coffee. He said he rarely blends it because he likes to taste flavor nuances created by different growing regions.

Kloeblen and Jurgens had their first meeting in late July.

“I brought him some cupcakes, and he brought me a latté,” Kloeblen said. They soon decided, “let’s do something together.”

CoffeeCake hit the streets in mid-December.

Between customers during one a recent lunch hour, Kloeblen’s fingers flew across the touchpad of her purple-skinned smartphone telling her followers she was being interviewed for this story.

Over the next few minutes, followers of twitter.com/coffeecakekc reply:

Woot!

You go girl!

Kloeblen has relied on Twitter to steer CoffeeCake from its inception.

She built a network on the social media website, where followers offered business advice, helped her choose her bakery logo and connected her with the man she rents kitchen space from.

Kloeblen and Jurgens leaned on Twitter to collect online donations that enabled them to transform an old uniform-delivery truck into their shiny new mobile kitchen.

Now that the truck’s on the road, CoffeeCake uses Twitter to announce its ever-changing coordinates.

Coffeecakekc is headed to 9th and Main! :) come see us!

On the truck today. Hospital Hill @ Noon!

CoffeeCake’s Twitter followers even help decide where the truck parks.

Kloeblen said she sends out “feelers” at night to get tips about where to find cupcake-hungry customers the next day. She also gets requests — like “Some people in my office want cupcakes and coffee at 3 p.m., can you be there?” — and obliges when she can.

For now, CoffeeCake has business and mobile kitchen licenses only in Kansas City, Mo.

Kloeblen and Jurgens would like to expand into Johnson County but said mobile kitchen licensing appears to be uncharted territory for many suburban cities.

Jurgens said some don’t allow the vehicles because they don’t have ordinances governing them.

“I think they probably see it more as a roach-coach, and we’re definitely more high-end,” Jurgens said. “We’re hoping they can see us for what we are and maybe make an exception.”

Kloeblen said mobile eateries like CoffeeCake are gaining steam in other cities she’s visited.

“We’re trying to trailblaze our way,” she said. “Mobile is the thing.”

Comments

mom_of_three 3 years, 8 months ago

They had an entire reality show this fall based on mobile truck eateries. Can't remember the name, but they had to buy their produce and supplies and find a place to sell. They traveled around the country in a race. It was a different show, for sure.

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Betty Bartholomew 3 years, 8 months ago

What a brilliant idea! Hopefully they'll get to break into other markets soon. I know people in my office here in Lawrence would flip for something like that.

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madmadsmom 3 years, 7 months ago

Best cupcakes I have ever had! Please come to Lawrence!!!!

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