There’s big business. There’s small business. And then there’s really small business.
Vagabond Coffee Co. is an example of the latter.
Operating out of a small vintage travel trailer in Hemming Park, William Morgan serves a variety of Bold Bean coffees and other hot beverages. But he wasn’t inspired to start the business solely because of the coffee.
“I love coffee and connecting with people,” he said. “For me, coffee and community are synonymous. Complete strangers have become friends.”
Morgan purchased the 1967 Scotty HiLander travel trailer in late 2013. Then he began the process of removing the interior fixtures and installing a Synesso espresso machine.
He said he spent about $20,000 to open Vagabond and about half of the investment was for the espresso machine.
“It was a really dirty old camper that was falling apart. I refurbished it in my parents’ front yard,” he said.
The business debuted in April during the One Spark festival Downtown. After six months of operating as a “pop-up” shop, Morgan parked the trailer in the lot adjacent to the Laura Street Trio and began selling coffee on a daily basis.
He moved in December to Hemming Park, where Vagabond is open for business 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, weather permitting.
“We’ll be in Hemming for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Morgan is planning a daylong event in the park.
He has invited artists and craftsmen to bring their handmade wares to sell at what he calls “Vagabond Flea.” It’s scheduled 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Feb. 7.
The business represents an opportunity to satisfy Morgan’s entrepreneurial streak and hopefully, set an example for others. Vagabond Coffee Co. shows it’s possible to take an idea to the market and survive.
“There are a lot of young creatives who grew up in Jacksonville and we want to stay here,” Morgan said. “I want to look back in five or six years and know I had a part in bringing the park back and in bringing Downtown back.”