It’s safe to say Columbus can’t get enough coffee, and a new coffee trailer is further caffeinating the masses with a bit of Dutch flair.
Launched in mid-May by Derek van der Sluijs, Wooden Shoe Coffee trailer is making the rounds with its simple lineup of caffeine and breakfast items. On the food side there are bagels, Belgian waffles and Dutch-classic stroopwafels (thin waffles cemented together with a sweet, honey-like syrup).
As for caffeine, the trailer’s offerings include espresso, lattes, coffee and chai tea. Local roaster One Line supplies Wooden Shoe’s beans.
“One Line has been great and I really like working with them,” van der Sluijs says.
Before becoming a mobile coffee connoisseur, van der Sluijs was working in the corporate world in HR and recruiting. The company he worked for frequently hosted food trucks. Van der Sluijs loved the food truck scene and seeing what new truck would be there to try.
He also loved coffee, local coffee. A frequenter of many of the Columbus-based roasters, van der Sluijs was bored with the chain shops that were accessible from his office.
“I want coffee to come,” he thought. “As I was doing some research awhile back, there’s really not a breakfast or that coffee option.”
While the field has widened a bit now, van der Sluijs thought maybe this could be his thing.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurship spirit,” he says. “I’ve always wanted to start something on my own.”
All the while, van der Sluijs was starting to realize that sitting at a desk was not for him. Instead he declared, “I want to get good coffee to these captive customers in the offices.”
The name Wooden Shoe Coffee was inspired by his Dutch heritage. His grandparents immigrated to the U.S. and van der Sluijs says he grew up “very Dutch.”
“We would do coffee every Sunday as a family,” he says.
Van der Sluijs went the mobile path versus fixed location for many of the same reasons other entrepreneurs do.
“It was more feasible in terms of costs,” he says. “I like the idea of being mobile because with a brick-and-mortar if you have a bad location, it’s a lot harder to get up and move than it is to have a mobile business.”
If it’s not a lucrative spot, Wooden Shoe can pack it up in move on, but thus far seems to be choosing their locations well.
“So far the feedback has been excellent,” van der Sluijs says.
He frequents heavy hitters like Zulily and gets steady requests from a number of other businesses. The trailer is also making its rounds at events like the Easton Farmers Market, Pataskala Farmers Market, and some sporting tournaments. Wooden Shoe Coffee already has commitments at least five days a week for the next couple of months.
Wooden Shoe Coffee turned to ECDI to take its operation from idea to business. Van der Sluijs completed the Small Enterprise Education Development (S.E.E.D.) courses to help build his business plan before being matched with a relationship manager who helped him take the planning to the next level.
“They were a great help from all aspects,” van der Sluijs says.
For more information, visit woodenshoecoffee.com.