Melissa Mead enjoys running for miles before serving up a strong cup of coffee to customers lining up outside her charming coffee trailer in San Antonio, Texas.
Over the years, Melissa has worked as a teacher, barista, and journalist. All of these jobs have immensely shaped her love for storytelling while simultaneously bringing the community together (one cup of coffee at a time).
During the early days of the pandemic, Melissa worked as a 6th grade teacher in Washington and moved to Texas in early 2021. Although she had picked up another teaching gig at the time, she found herself drawn towards finding a trailer to build her dream coffee truck for the community.
After tossing a few ideas for a coffee slash food truck with her boyfriend in early 2020, Coffee Run Trailer came to mind. It took about a year-and-a-half to put things in motion.
“The inspiration for starting the business stemmed from an increasing desire to work for myself, after years of working retail jobs and teaching. I also wanted to create a job opportunity where I would still be connected with my surrounding community. The name itself was born out of a combination of my favorite things: coffee and running.”
“Being a lifelong runner and a former barista in my younger years, the name just seemed to work,” she added.
After purchasing the trailer last year, Melissa and her boyfriend transformed their 1968 Road Runner camper trailer while keeping much of its original design, charm, and color scheme intact.
“We kept the notable and eye-catching red arrow, and gave it a fresh coat of paint.” Building out the coffee trailer included putting new flooring, installing a concessions window, and heavy installation. It involved quite a bit of work to get the wheels moving.
“Something within me always wanted to build a business that encompassed things I’m passionate about; running, coffee, and community. I can honestly say that it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” said Melissa.
For as long as she can remember, Melissa has always been into competitive sports and storytelling. While at the University of California, Irvine, she studied literary journalism and fell in love with sharing and reporting human-interest stories. She also ran track and cross country and signed up for several marathons across the U.S.
“Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with telling the [stories] of people and places. I felt so at home with that kind of writing and I still get a kick out of reading bits from authors like Susan Orlean and Joan Didion.”
After college, Melissa moved to Santa Cruz, CA, where she took a job writing for the Santa Cruz Good Times newspaper while simultaneously working at Starbucks as a barista. “I mainly wrote feature articles, or what the public tenderly refers to as ‘puff’ pieces. I’d interview local go-getters, business owners, or athletes, and dive into their back stories and purpose.”
Over the years, Melissa kept her passion for writing alive with freelance writing projects through local newspapers and beyond. She also began coaching high school cross-country and decided to get her master’s degree in teaching.
“After a year-and-a-half of Zoom classes (yikes) and a year teaching (back in person) in Texas, I was ready to move onto something new. I still hold my Texas teaching credential, but upon opening up the coffee trailer, I decided not to return to teaching come the fall of 2022.”
One of the most difficult obstacles Melissa encountered was making the transition from teaching to starting her own small business.
“While I did enjoy working with students, the teaching occupation was truly draining, and often left me empty and without the energy to pursue other things I loved doing.”
For Melissa, her favorite daily coffee beverage is an Americano topped with a “healthy splash of heavy whipping cream.” Some of the coffee specialties that Coffee Run Trailer serves up include “Bulverde,” a drink named after the street where she and her boyfriend first opened their trailer on. “It’s a latte made with raw, unfiltered, Texas-crafted honey and mixed with nutmeg, with a drizzle of chocolate sauce on top.”
As an avid runner, Melissa got creative and even created her own specialty drink called the “Runner’s High,” which ties in her “love of running with a little bit of comedic value.” The beverage is an Americano with hazelnut syrup and a splash of heavy whipping cream.
Aside from running and coffee, Melissa enjoys getting lost in a good book and spending time with her boyfriend, Lucas, and their two German Shepherds.
Over the past decade, Melissa has run an impressive 12 marathons, three of which have been Boston Marathons. Currently, she’s training for her first trail ultra-marathon in February to get back into her “cross-country roots.”
Melissa recalls participating in the 2013 Boston Marathon where she regretfully ran injured that day, and was off her normal pace. “I still thankfully finished the race roughly 20 minutes before the bombs that day. I’ve run Boston three times (so far) and am looking forward to the 2024 race.”
In the future, Melissa hopes to open up a brick-and-mortar location for Coffee Run Trailer and perhaps take the trailer on the road for a cross-country trip to other destinations across the U.S. But for now, she’s enjoying bringing much-needed conversations and coffee to the city of San Antonio, Texas one stop at a time.
“So far, we’ve only traveled throughout south Texas, but have alluded to perhaps taking Coffee Run Trailer on a cross-country road trip, to service the US of A at some point in the foreseeable future.”
If you’re interested in following Melissa Mead and her coffee (and running) adventures, check out her business page at @coffeeruntrailer. Starting January 2023, Coffee Run Trailer will be setting up semi-permanently at the H-E-B grocery store in Schertz, Texas. Stay tuned for future locations.