The story of Smalley Coffee is a long and winding road, combining a number of ideas, memories, and passions.
Putting a coffee shop in an Airstream has long been a dream of mine (Josh Premuda).
In 2002, I started I started tinkering in the kitchen with coffee. I’d try different roasts, grinds and brew methods. My kitchen looked like a laboratory. I got rather obsessed with making coffee. I’d seek out new shops, new methods and work to make the “perfect” cup.
It was about that time that I started obsessing about Airstream campers. I’d always loved traveling and some of my fondest moments where the vacations I spent with my grandparents in their RV. They always had an RV – from a pop-up trailer to VW Vanagon to a Winnebego, that’s how they chose to vacation.
The vacations I spent with my Grandma and Grandpa Smalley in their RV has always stuck with me. Since I can remember I always had a fascination with Airstream campers; I’ve always loved the design of the “Silver Bullet”. I’ve dreamt of spending my days exploring the US, living in an Airstream.
I spent more time than I should have looking to buy a trailer to see the country. I never did get to take the trip, but still daydream about it.
One Sunday morning in 2002, I had a moment of zen; I should build a coffee shop in an Airstream. The dream was born. I put pen to paper and wrote out the business plan for “Basecamp Coffee”.
I moved to Jasper in 2009. I found a great cup of coffee at Sozo and spent time working there and picking up my morning cup. I was sad to see it close.
Late one night in 2012 I dusted off the business plan for “Basecamp Coffee”, I found an Airstream and decided I was going to try to make my dream a reality. It took two years of building and planning to get the Airstream ready.
As I was thinking about a name for my shop, I learned about a similar venture my Grandpa started when he was younger. he opened a diner in Concord, Michigan, “Smalley’s, the Hot Spot”. I’ve always looked up to my Grandpa Smalley. He passed away in 2012, but it wasn’t before he learned of Smalley Coffee. I told him that I was following his footsteps of opening a coffee shop. He loved the name.
Named after my Grandfather, I’ve tried to build Smalley Coffee around his values: thoughtful, quality, reliability, honesty and commitment.
I hope you enjoy Smalley Coffee as much as I’ve enjoyed building it. I hope Grandpa is proud.