After discovering a shared passion for coffee, Jevonna Morris and Kels Wilson decided to jointly open The Galaxy Coffee.
Morris and Wilson said they were motivated by the need for an inclusive space for members of the LGBTQ population and allies. Although Columbus is home to a multitude of queer-owned venues, such as Club Diversity and Union Cafe, The Galaxy Coffee will be the first coffee truck of its kind.
“A lot of the businesses that are for queer people in Columbus right now are bars, and that kind of cuts off a ton of people in our community in terms of where people can come and meet,” Morris said. “It’s harder for younger people to be a part of that.”
Morris said The Galaxy Coffee is slated to open mid-summer because they are still lacking funds for an espresso machine and the truck that will house their business. In the meantime, Morris said they’ve been showing off their skills on their website and Instagram using their own coffee machines from home.
Wilson and Morris shared a desire to become baristas and open up their own coffee shop. The duo first met when Morris became a general manager for a large coffee chain in Columbus and interviewed Wilson for a position with the chain.
“During the interview, she asked me where I saw myself in five or 10 years, and I was just very honest, so I told her I want to open up a coffee shop for queer people,” Wilson said.
The inspiration behind the name of The Galaxy Coffee stems from a concept in queer theory that gender is more than a binary, Morris said. The coffee truck’s unicorn logo is influenced by the notion of being queer, special and unique.
“It’s more like a whole galaxy of possibilities, but basically the idea being that there’s no limit to the amount of gender and expression that could exist in the world,” Morris said. “We’re really proud of being queer and trans-owned and creating a space for everyone in Columbus, but especially people who don’t always feel like there’s a place for them.”
Wilson said they have been able to experiment with both traditional and creative coffee drinks to add to their menu before the truck is up and running. In addition to industry staples such as lattes and cappuccinos, the duo has been practicing drinks that are more outside of the box.
“We made some nice homemade coffee, and then we blended it with vanilla bean ice cream and then a couple of ice cubes topped with a salted chocolate caramel drizzle,” Wilson said.
The Galaxy Coffee menu includes standard coffee, hot or iced espresso options, frozen drinks, tea, food and add-ons.
Wilson said the duo aimed to create a menu that is accessible and easy for people who do not know enough about coffee to order off of one.
“We want everyone to feel welcome, because I think we both have had experiences where we had been in coffee shops where maybe the menu is not very well explained or there is a certain lingo that you might not know,” Wilson said.
The Galaxy Coffee is in the process of partnering with local businesses such as Patty Cake — a local vegan bakery in Clintonville — to help support one another, Morris said.
“They’ve been really great in terms of helping out with being our partner and in terms of pastries and vegan options that we can have at our truck,” Morris said.
Morris said in addition to serving as a space for everyone to feel relaxed and welcomed, The Galaxy Coffee will have a community jar for customers to pay it forward to help others.
“We’re worker-owned, we share the profits evenly, and so we’re not needing to be tipped, but those tips can go back to the community or for someone who wants to get a free cup of coffee or muffin,” Morris said.
For now, The Galaxy Coffee has an Indiegogo campaign with a goal of $40,000 to help pay for a truck, Morris said. The campaign is set to end July 27.
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