ROCK ISLAND — Cool Beanz owner Annette Hutto and her business have done a lot of fundraisers and private parties.
She couldn’t help but notice the ease with which other businesses with food trucks did their work at the same events.
She also had considered expanding from Cool Beanz’s location at 14th Avenue and 30th Street, but the expense of another building did not excite her.
So she opted to add a 20-foot food truck for the coffee house.
“This seemed like the right way to do it because it gives us the flexibility of being in a lot of different places around the Quad-Cities when spreading our product and our brand, without the rigidity of staying in one place,” Hutto said.
“This is a very trendy thing to do right now. There’s tons of food truck events going on,” she said. “So that’s the direction we decided to go for now.”
The Cool Beanz food truck is scheduled to make its debut Aug. 24 across the street at the new pocket park in Rock Island. The timing coincides with the shop’s opening nine years ago.
Hutto, an Augustana College graduate, first thought of getting into the business when she was a junior at Augie. Soon thereafter she opened Cool Beanz.
To celebrate the Aug. 24 anniversary of Cool Beanz, Hutto plans to give the food truck a test with free coffee from 3 to 6 p.m. at the pocket park. She also plans to take the truck to road races, street fairs, private events and local parks.
Hutto said she was working with city officials in Moline on possibly having the food truck spend much of the fall at Stephens Park, from 6 to 9 a.m., starting in September.
“As long as I can pull the trailer there and it’s making money, and we are working, I can set up,” she said — even in winter.
She knows she will have to abide by existing laws on where mobile coffee houses can set up. She said she expected the food truck would boost her business in the summer when it normally lagged because Augie students and faculty were off.
“When we have less business coming in our brick-and-mortar store, we can kind of supplement that by having a trailer going around town,” she said.
The food truck will give her a chance to do more events, she said, adding she has catered some events in the past.
The truck will have an expresso machine, a brewer, refrigeration, a freezer and a lot of workspace, she said.
“We aren’t going to do the same menu we do at the coffee house,” she said. “At the coffee house we have a lot of soups, breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as alcohol.
“We will not be doing food the same way, at least to begin with,” she said. She plans to first add pastries and desserts, but no sandwiches or alcohol.
Hutto is excited about the new venture, although she knows it means more work.
“It’s a second source of income,” she said. “It will be very time-consuming for me personally. I am hoping it does well enough I can hire increased staff so that they are actually running it.”
She noted another huge potential benefit to the food truck.
“We have our logo on the side of it as we go around town,” she said. “It’s a great way to get our name and our product out to new people that might not have seen us before.”
She praised her customer base for their support and encouragement, as well as the Rock Island community. Along with additional income and brand awareness, she said the food truck is “also about the satisfaction of serving people and reaching more people and getting involved with more things in our community.”