COLUMBUS, Ohio — After years of planning and preparation, Columbus’ first queer-owned coffee truck opened for business this past June.
Co-owners Jevonna Morris and Kels Wilson established The Galaxy Coffee to be a space where everyone is welcome to relax and just be themselves. Over the past six months, they have fought setbacks and cherished successes on their way to quickly becoming a beloved fixture of the central Ohio food truck landscape.
“We really wanted to be a place for our community,” said Morris of the inspiration behind The Galaxy Coffee. “There’s a lot of great gay bars in Columbus; there’s a lot of great spaces but not all of them are sober spaces; not all of them are all-ages spaces.”
They not only wanted to create a great experience in front of the counter for their customers, Morris and Wilson also aimed to ensure that the business behind the counter was good not only for themselves but for potential future coworkers as well.
“We’re also a worker cooperative,” Morris explained. “We’re worker-owned. We own the company equally; we split the profits equally and, as we bring new people on, they’ll also be invited into the worker co-op. So, it’s a little bit different than some of the other business structures that are around here.”
One other significant aspect of The Galaxy Coffee is what they refer to as the “community jar.”
“We take tips that would be going to us - we don’t need the tips; we pay ourselves out of our profits - and we just give them back to the community,” explained Morris. “Anybody that wants a free meal or drink, you know, they can come here and they can get that from the community.”
After starting an Indiegogo campaign and securing a loan to purchase their truck, the team entrusted their new ride to a contractor friend in Colorado who overhauled the hauler into what it is today. But, when retrieving the truck, trouble was waiting just around the turn.
On its way back to Ohio, the truck’s engine gave out and had to be completely replaced. The team was undeterred and officially opened soon after.
Three weeks after serving their first espressos, a complete failure of the truck’s brake system shuttered them once again. That was followed by yet another setback when the fuel injector went out.
“We were a little nervous that our customer base would abandon us,” said Morris. “But everybody came back. Everybody was so wonderful and excited to see us. It’s definitely been quite a challenge to keep going, but we have a lot of heart; we have a lot of people in our community who are really backing us up and it’s been really great.”
Now, with their truck humming along, The Galaxy Coffee team is ready to take on their next challenge.
“All of our equipment runs on electricity and a lot of it,” explained Morris. “We need a powerful generator, but the one that we have is very loud.”
The persistent roar of the gasoline engine strapped to the rear bumper of the truck makes it nearly impossible for orders to be taken or conversations to be had. To try and bring the rumble down, they have launched a campaign to raise enough funds to replace their current fixture with two new (and much quieter) inverter generators.
"I mean the whole dream is to be that space where people can come and gather and hang out and make friendships, make community, and you can’t have that if people can’t talk to each other.”
To find out more about The Galaxy Coffee or to see their menu and location schedule, just visit their website.