How a South Dakota coffee truck owner grew her business amid COVID

How a South Dakota coffee truck owner grew her business amid COVID

Shania Rozeboom always thought she’d start a business, and in 2019, she did it by brewing up a new idea – bringing coffee to all parts of the south side of the state.

The former coffeehouse worker who’d trained in Watertown at the Confectionary revived her interest and started grinding up blends of beans after seeing plenty of local coffee while living in Sioux Falls. She wanted to bring it home.

“When my husband and I moved back to the Beresford area, I started roasting,” Rozeboom said. “I sold what I made.”

Rozeboom started small, then saw her small coffee roasting startup flourish into a full company. Then the next year, she had the idea to start a coffee truck service to go to events, and have it act as “a billboard” for her roasted beans.

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It wasn’t a straight start. Rozeboom and her husband scoured Facebook Marketplace before they found an ice cream truck in the middle of Nebraska in winter. She was elated to fix it up, from sinks to spigots, to sell coffee at events.

The two went to pick the truck up and figured out it needed extensive electrical work from there. Rozeboom and her handy husband got to work doing it themselves prepping Lucille, the name they gave the beloved new coffee cart, until it was ready. Rainy Day Coffee Co. was set to go from ground beans to a cart service.

The only issue is that it was 2020.

After getting mobile food truck licenses to operate, permits and more for summer events, the COVID-19 pandemic hit South Dakota and cancelled every summer event Lucille was set to attend. Rozeboom advertised on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere to sell her coffee blends, right after putting $15,000 and plenty of sweat into her truck. She had also started a Square website and sold online as well and at more unusual spots like florists and family restaurants.

Rainy Day Coffee Co. went without buying an expensive espresso machine, making cold brewed coffee instead to cut down costs.

Now Rozeboom’s truck is a hit at nearly every event it visits, with cold brew becoming one of the top items. At Lake Lorraine Farmer’s Market on Thursday night, dozens lined up even as the event was winding down at about 7 p.m., thirty minutes after the truck was set to close.

Rozeboom and her barista MaKayla Nelson, whom she only hires for busy times, were flooded making Fro-Zos, iced lattes and more for customers of all ages.

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“It’s been non-stop,” Nelson said. “People really like the cold drinks or our Nutty White Girl drink. Anything with flavor we can make.”

Rozeboom says success, beyond hard work, is about catering to customers and their needs.

“When I went to Riverfest, people wanted after supper hour coffees,” Rozeboom said. “If you’re at an event and there’s no coffee, there should be.”

From just showing up to events where there’s no other coffee cart to selling the popular ‘2 a.m. Diner’ bag of coffee to make at home, Rozeboom puts customer needs at the top of her priority list. Her priority is convenience for customers and makes products catering to what they want.

“People at events love to try new things, so we create that,” Rozeboom said.

Rozeboom continues to work a full-time job and aims to sell more over time next summer as her last few events end in October. She grows with the budget and time she has, but has always been able to successfully grow with her business. Lucille is rolling to a stop, with the last event of the year in Garretson last weekend, at least for now.

“I’ve been keeping my eye out on events that have been happening,” Rozeboom said. “I’m excited and hopefully we can keep pace.”


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