Our featured partner this week is Junction Coffee, a creative, charming, and community-oriented coffee shop housed in a double-decker bus and owned by husband-wife team Nick and Lori Bollinger.
We visited the mobile shop stopped at Kerr Park in downtown OKC to chat with Nick about the bus, the business, and his thoughts on creativity and community.
You and Lori started out as youth pastors in Oklahoma City. How did you become inspired to start Junction Coffee?
As youth pastors, we valued the relationships that could be built through worship. Our original idea was to start a brick-and-mortar coffee shop because we felt inspired to create a space that could foster a similar expression through a neutral platform that appealed to all walks of life. We envisioned a coffee business that could make people feel comfortable, valued, important, and loved, and realized that a mobile shop was a more responsible financial undertaking. Around that time, we came across a double-decker bus at a mechanic’s shop on West Reno. The mechanic, who had been trained overseas, connected us to a company based out of the UK that located a bus and helped us ship it over.
What drives your enthusiasm as entrepreneurs?
It is really fun. Also, we’ve learned a lot about ourselves through the experience. While Lori likes a little more structure, I thrive on situations that involve borderline chaos. To have an occupation that is fluid on a daily basis is exciting. For example, I found out this morning that there was a bolt that had broken on the bus engine, so I’ve been running around opening up bus panels to fix the issue. I get a little bit giddy when there is a new challenge or new puzzle to fix.
How do you select your coffee offerings?
When we started, we wanted to make sure that we supported Oklahoma businesses as much as we could instead of bringing coffees in from other parts of the country. Because we value good relationships, we tend to favor local roasters that also value this. And, since our bus moves to different locations, our base menu is kept consistent to stay anchored for our customers. We have great relationships with Mariposa, EÔTÉ, and also have a great relationship with our Civic Center location. This helps us support local businesses, serve a great product, and foster relationships with good friends.
Why do you think the arts are important for our community?
For one thing, if nothing were different, everything would be the same. That seems simple, but fostering creativity and artistic expression in multiple ways adds depth to the human experience and helps us understand how we connect with one another. There is a broad spectrum, and if we confine it to one outlet, we miss ways to appreciate beauty and to learn how we can better ourselves.
Recently, Lori and I were excited to buy our first piece of art together at an auction for Jubilee Partners nonprofit. We were thrilled and talked about it for hours. The artist captured an intimate moment of a performer backstage resting after an exhausting number and it is beautiful and effective.
Junction Coffee is typically parked at the Civic Center Music Hall on Tuesdays, St. Anthony’s Hospital (9th and Walker) on Wednesdays, Kerr Park (R.S. Kerr & Broadway) on Thursdays, and 5th and Broadway on Fridays. You can always check their schedule via social media, and can even sign up for text or email updates HERE.
The mobile coffee shop offers a buy 1 drink, get 1 half off offer with your OKCityCard.