Coffee on wheels

Mary Norman

Photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Mary Norman is ready to help pep people up with a fast and friendly cup of Joe. She opened what she’s calling The Truck last month and is already on the move. Mary and her husband, Brandon, who works for a digital marketing company, both grew up in the area and attended Chico State. The couple moved to the Bay Area for a few years, but when their first child was born, they felt compelled to move back to Chico, “where we belonged,” she said. Now, as a stay-at-home mother of two (ages 3 and 6), and with her own mother nearby for support, Norman is ready to get to work. The Truck is scheduled to serve racers and race fans at the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway Sept. 5-8, and she’ll also be at the Chico Outdoor Art Festival at the Palms on Sept. 16. Follow The Truck on Facebook, where you can participate in a contest closing Sept. 15 to rename it—the winner gets free drinks for a year!

How did you get the idea to start a coffee truck?

I just didn’t have enough to do [as a stay-at-home mom] and so I said to my mom, “What would be something that Chico could really use?” And she said, “You know, a coffee truck would be genius!” I got on Craigslist and there was one that was ready to go, brand new, turnkey. The guy had done all the work to it, Six Degrees Coffee had installed all the machinery …. I literally signed the paperwork on Monday and did my first job on Saturday.

What are your goals for the business?

I want to be able to serve people and have them have a good experience, but still have it in a timely fashion because people who are at work or who have a short lunch break or a short coffee break, they don’t want to waste their entire time waiting for the drink they’re not really gonna get to enjoy. So, we’ve kind of streamlined everything. There are two sizes of the hot and two sizes of the cold and for those sizes, it’s just the two prices, no matter what you want to put in it—unless it’s an extra shot, then of course I have to charge for that.

What varieties do you serve?

We’re always gonna be changing it up and that way people get a chance to try all the different options, whether it be Costa Rican or whatever. It’s really nice that we’re able to work with Six Degrees Coffee, because they have just menu after menu of stuff to try.

Do you offer additional flavors for the coffee?

All the good stuff: white chocolate, regular chocolate, caramel. We do flavored Italian sodas also, so I’ve got probably 12 flavors of Italian soda including cherry, coconut, raspberry, lemon-lime. One of the favorites right now is honey-hazelnut, so it tastes like the old Bit-O-Honey candies as an Italian soda and also as a latte.