Husband and wife team brewing up success one cup at a time
Lexington, SC (Paul Kirby) – Kimberly and Sherman Stephens look like you might expect a middle-aged couple to look. The pair are married and have enjoyed each other’s company for more than five years. At one time, both worked in corporate America, both had great professional successes, and generally led the life of a power couple that were heading into their sunset years happy and in love. They had each other, their careers, grown children, their health; what some might consider everything one could hope for. “Still,” Kimberly explained, “Something was missing. We didn’t feel fulfilled and that’s what we wanted more than anything.”
At some point, Sherman’s eyes began to fail. He has a degenerative eye illness and watching a computer screen when he worked was causing a strain that made them worse. In a proactive move, the pair began looking at other things that interested them that would also take the strain off Sherman’s eyes. One concept they wanted to explore was some sort of food franchise. Neither had been in a business of this type, but it really was what they felt they were being drawn to do.
One of Kimberly’s daily pleasures is coffee. She’s loved the intricacies of a good cup forever. Listening as she explains notes of chocolate or the hint of the exotic smells she gets when she sips each cup is much like listening to a lover of fine wines describe a vintage. This woman knows and appreciates the subtle differences that each bean, each roast, and a careful brewing process makes in the final product. Sherman was…...well he was not quite so knowledgeable or a coffee lover like his wife.
Kimberly explained that Sherman didn’t originally like coffee. Slowly, she set out to convert him to the brew by making him iced coffee. Little by little, Sherman saw the light through the coffee and fell in love with the cold version. He was hooked too!
After doing some homework, looking at their finances, and deciding what they could afford to invest, Kimberly and Sherman bought a custom coffee trailer they pull with a truck. When it arrived, Ship n Print of Lexington designed and wrapped the trailer with beautiful branding in one weekend. On Memorial Day of 2019, they started their business, Coffee On The Run.
The trailer allows them to move from place to place as the market demands. It’s fully self-contained and has its own power by generator, water, and gray water tanks. There’s a great high-end Italian coffee machine that Kimberly says can make everything you’d expect from a coffee shop except Frappuccinos. She even makes a great iced coffee and a cold brew as well. Apparently, there’s a difference.
The Stephens also sell muffins off their truck as well as other goodies like cake pops, organic juice pouches for the kids, and donuts that are made locally. Most food items are less than $2.50 each. Their coffee drinks start around $2.25 for 16 ounces and the most expensive cup they have on the menu is the Coconut Cream Pie Latte. That sells for $5.70 per cup.
Kimberly said area small businesses have been great partners with she and Sherman. D&W catering makes the cake pops and donuts and Erin’s Kitchen bakes the muffins. Most coffee the pair use is a local product. Michael Washburn, a local businessman, roasts and grinds them a coffee at his boutique business Lake Murray Coffee Roasters. One grind also comes from a topflight roaster in Georgia.
Each weekday, Coffee On The Run sets up in the parking area at The Dam House on North Lake Drive near Corley Mill. Kimberly says she can’t say enough about that businesses’ owner Matt Borjes who has offered his help and friendship. Once the couple pull up and get ready, you can swing in on the way to work or school for your cup. Kimberly says you can even private message her on Facebook with your order and she or Sherman will have it ready when you get there. On the weekends, they set up at the Barnyard Flea Market where they’ve had even greater success.
At this point one might ask, “How much success can you have selling cups of coffee?” If you believe in Kimberly and Sherman, something that’s easy to do since both have great minds and lots of confidence, probably more than any of us can imagine. If folks in Seattle can be successful by selling fancy coffees that cost $6.00 per cup, just imagine what two determined people from Lexington can do when they try.
You can follow Coffee On The Run on social media to find out exactly where they are today. Most days, you’ll find them at the Dam House in the morning and at the Barnyard Flea Market on the weekends. They also do special events like an upcoming 5K at Northside Baptist Church. You can reach Coffee On The Run by phone at (803) 221-0003 or (502) 741-3799. Their Facebook page is at www.facebook.com/coffeeontherunlx.