Jack-of-all-trades Derek Har­ri­son from Fish Hoek says that what fu­els his tank is driv­ing around in Sally, his mo­bile cof­fee shop, and giv­ing peo­ple their caf­feine kick – along with tasty treats.

Go! Camp & Drive - - CONTENTS -

I’ve been a teacher, tour guide, guest­house man­ager, sales­man, restau­rant owner twice, cof­feeshop owner twice, and even de­vel­oped a chil­dren’s na­ture aware­ness pro­gramme. Need­less to say, I love rein­vent­ing my­self, and have been for­tu­nate enough to be fairly suc­cess­ful in some ven­tures and ex­cel­lent in oth­ers.

I loved the restau­rant and cof­fee-shop busi­nesses, but the hours and rentals are tire­some and pro­hib­i­tive; so when I started ZA Café Mo­bile, I was look­ing for fun and an ad­ven­ture that could gen­er­ate the life­style I wanted. It would be a mo­bile eatery and cof­fee stop that could also dou­ble as a trav­el­ling mar­ket­ing ve­hi­cle. This means I can stop out­side a bar­ber or de­sign em­po­rium or small ma­te­rial shop, and in ex­change for elec­tric­ity and wa­ter, I can help pro­mote the busi­ness via the van’s so­cial me­dia chan­nels, such as Face­book, In­sta­gram, Twit­ter and YouTube.

I found Sally about three years ago. She looked a lit­tle sad and rough around the edges; but on the up­side, she was in run­ning or­der, so I pur­chased her for a mere R10 000. Sally is a 1974 Volk­swa­gen Jur­gens Au­tovilla – ba­si­cally the lovechild of two South African favourites, the Kombi and the Jur­gens car­a­van – mak­ing the ideal fam­ily week­ender.

I had very lit­tle cap­i­tal to start the busi­ness with, so friends with car­pen­try skills and tools helped cut a hatch and set up a counter. I bor­rowed an espresso ma­chine and a grinder, and be­gan trad­ing even be­fore Sally re­ceived her first new lick of paint.

Apart from the stan­dard ser­vices, I’ve only spent R25 000 so far on var­i­ous me­chan­i­cal re­pairs and up­grades, and that in­cluded hav­ing the en­gine re­con­di­tioned af­ter more than 30 000 km of my own mileage. She’s paid her way through all the up­grades by sell­ing cups of liq­uid gold to peo­ple all over the greater Cape Town re­gion. But one of the big­gest chal­lenges of work­ing at the coast is man­ag­ing the rust!

So far we’ve been as far as Melk­bos, Cape Point, Fran­schhoek and Welling­ton, as well as the oc­ca­sional ven­ture into the CBD and the Deep South. Long-dis­tance trips are lim­ited un­til I can get the me­chan­i­cals to a level at which I’m fairly con­fi­dent of ev­ery­thing. Our reg­u­lar haunts are Muizen­berg main road from Mon­days to Fri­days, the Range Mar­ket in Con­stan­tia on Fri­day nights, the Kom­metjie Mar­ket fort­nightly; and we also do events such as wed­dings, sports days, birth­days and cor­po­rate func­tions.

In ad­di­tion to amer­i­canos, espres­sos, chai lat­tes, red cap­puc­ci­nos, mochas and tea, we also sell ve­gan ro­tis and crois­sants.

In­stead of up­grad­ing to a more mod­ern ve­hi­cle or adding ve­hi­cles to the busi­ness, I’d rather fo­cus on my five Cs of Cof­fee: Con­nec­tion, Com­mu­nity, Col­lab­o­ra­tion, Cre­ation and Cel­e­bra­tion. My dream is to travel all across South Africa.

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