Vancouver woman converts her coffee shop to a truck and heads to events across the area
VANCOUVER — “Don’t ever give up.”
Simple words, but to Linda Selivanow, they mean everything.
Linda and her husband Larry started Coffee Villa in Vancouver togther. It was their dream. The shop was a place of comfort and quality, something like a living room in someone’s home.
Three years ago, the calm relaxing environment of the shop was broken by a hardship all too common in life today. Larry developed brain cancer, and soon passed away from the illness.
Linda and her children were devastated. The shop continued for those few years, but to Linda it just wasn’t the same. It was a large shop, and she was struggling to maintain it. It was time for a change.
She sold the shop but not the name. She took six months of much needed time off, and when she returned her new business venture was ready to go. This time not on a foundation, but on four wheels.
Reborn as Coffee Villa Hits the Road, Linda and Larry’s popular shop was transformed into a custom-made, world-class food truck serving award-winning coffee, pastries and specialty foods.
Their dream would live on.
“I wrote in my calendar on Nov. 30, the coffee shop will be sold, and I will start building my truck,” she said. “I didn’t advertise. On Nov. 15 I had a full price offer. I was out Nov. 30 and started my truck adventure, and it’s been just a blessing.”
In the four months since she started, Linda has traveled to close to 20 events in the area, serving thousands of customers. The bright blue truck, has become recognizable, and even requested.
Inside, a high-end espresso machine fits snuggly at one end, with all manner of grinders, food scales, ovens, fridges, panini presses and coffee bags around it. Heck, she has everything and the kitchen sink.
The menu includes about every kind of americano, latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, steamers, and tea the mind can think of, but is not limited to drinks. Specialty sandwiches, bagels and pastries are also the list. You can take it from this reporter, it’s delicious.
“It’s been really nice being able to hear her story and kind of just see the fact that she went through that, but it didn’t define her,” said Jessie Blom, who works for Linda at the truck. “You know, it pushed her to do this, and it pushed her to be better. And, you know, kind of do it for her husband. I know he would have loved this. It is kind of like coming into a family.”
Working alongside Jessie, Linda said she enjoys interacting with her customers and working a much more sustainable amount. When at the shop, she was working 14 hours-a-day, but now at the truck the hours are flexible and relatively normal full-time.
“I’m taking care of me now, and I keep doing what I love doing and we go to these great events and meet these great people,” she said. “We get to serve them organic coffee and to me that’s so exciting. My passion is coffee.”
Serving coffee runs in Linda’s family. After she and Larry started Coffee Villa, her son began roasting coffee and started his own very successful shop of Kafiex Roasters – Coffee Lab in downtown Vancouver.
Kafiex has won best coffee in the county two times in a row, through the Golden Bean award.
All coffee served at the truck comes from Linda’s son at Kafiex, and is organic coffee from all over the globe. Linda’s daughter also helps her with the truck, and her sister Diane is currently helping her market the new spin on Coffee Villa.
The Coffee Villa food truck travels to apartment buildings, triathlons, soccer tournaments, the farmers market, cancer drives, realtor open houses, and this weekend will be in Portland for the Dragon Boat Races.
“Our coffee shop was more of a sit down, come relax, living room atmosphere, and I’m bringing that to a coffee food truck, which sounds weird,” Linda said. “But we are still building those relationships, even though we may not see these people again for a long time. We want to make a memory with them.”