The owners of CafÃ© Con Leche aspire to one day have a brick and mortar store.
Despite the literal and the figurative obstacles on the road that it has encountered since its inception, a local mobile coffee business seems to have found its place and a loyal and growing customer base.
Co-owned by Edgar and Diana Mayorga, Cafe Con Leche opened in February. Serving a variety of espressos, specialty coffees, teas and desserts, the coffee cart is located in the Bertuccio Farms parking lot, 2410 Airline Highway in Hollister, and is open Monday through Saturday from 6:30 am to 5 pm.
One morning in mid-June, the husband-and-wife team shared with BenitoLink the challenges, as well as the triumphs, of his two-year business trip: an odyssey that began in the Bay Area and ultimately ended. crossed San Benito County.
Diana, 27, describes herself as a “coffee nerd,” spent her teenage years working in various cafes in Redwood City, learning about the industry and customer palettes. After a stint at the French pastry cafÃ©, Mademoiselle Colette, she imagined a cafÃ© centered on her Mexican roots.
With her business plan in hand, Diana began experimenting with different blends of coffee and syrups, often asking neighbors to try her product and give their opinion.
His fledgling business was nearly disrupted when Edgar, 29, lost his job as a sheet metal worker during the pandemic.
With her entrepreneurial flair for dealing with setbacks, Diana decided to sell her coffee in the couple’s apartment. His former taste testers were now his target customers.
âAll the Starbucks and local coffee shops were closed,â she said, âand our neighbors supported me and bought my coffee.â
As Edgar saw the potential of his wife’s business, he decided to join her full time.
âHe made my dream come true,â said Diana.
Too short of cash to open a brick and mortar business, the Mayorgas settled on a coffee cart. But it also turned out to be difficult.
The new enclosed trailer they bought needed an unexpected overhaul, and the coffee machine couldn’t keep up with the expected demand. Additionally, several Bay Area roasters have refused to lend their name and product to the young couple.
âWe faced a lot of bumps on the road,â said Diana. âAnd heard a lot of no’s,â Edgar added.
Drawing from the well of their Christian faith and undeterred by the obstacles they faced, the couple continued to renovate the future black and white coffee cart.
The words “CafÃ© Con Leche” were then engraved on its side, a reference to the simple and inviting coffee served in the haciendas of rural Mexico.
Before moving to Hollister in June 2020, the couple learned that Los Gatos Coffee Roasting Company was ready to get attached to CafÃ© Con Leche’s coffee products.
It appeared that things were finally improving for the Mayorgas.
But once they arrived in San Benito County, they struggled to find a site for their operation.
Attracted by the amount of traffic along Highway 25, the mobile cafÃ©-bar CafÃ© Con Leche initially parked near the Bray beehives, a road accessory.
Word quickly spread on social media that the county’s newest coffee company was offering delicious produce in a welcoming and friendly atmosphere.
Among those who became an early fan was Hollister’s Patty Yerena.
While waiting for her frozen mocha, Yerena, a daily customer, told BenitoLink that she discovered CafÃ© Con Leche on Instagram. She visited their roadside location and was immediately hooked.
âI’m pretty picky with my coffee. And they [Diana and Edgar] have memorized my drink. It’s great coffee and great customer service, âsaid Yerena.
Despite the exposure they received from the freeway, the Mayorgas decided to take a seat in Hollister across from Ladd Lane Elementary School.
Although the move was short-lived, CafÃ© Con Leche struck up a friendship and ultimately a business relationship with Roxy MuÃ±oz, a Hollister School District employee and owner of Wasted Sugar Co.
After tasting MuÃ±oz’s specialty, strawberries and chocolate-covered pretzels, Diana asked the long-term ranked replacement if she could make desserts exclusively for CafÃ© Con Leche.
MuÃ±oz is thrilled that her churro cheesecake and banana-banana fritters are on the cafe cart menu, and she is happy to have the Mayorgas as business partners.
âThey are easy to work with and both are really adorable,â MuÃ±oz said in a phone interview with BenitoLink.
While a customer waited for additional toasted marshmallows to garnish her S’mores Latte, first customer Kristina Gamboa embarked on the ongoing development of the Hollister Farms shopping center on East Park Street.
Craving something “delicious” and following Edgar’s recommendation, Gamboa ordered a Big Birthday Latte.
After taking a sip, Gamboa smiled and told BenitoLink: âIt’s really good. It’s really sweet as a [birthday] cupcake, and the mousse is perfect.
When asked if she would return, the Hollister resident replied, “I will be back for sure.”
However, less than 24 hours later, CafÃ© Con Leche had to move.
Adept at navigating unfavorable commercial waters, Diana reached out to former Hollister city councilor Victor Gomez on Instagram.
Gomez and former San Benito County Supervisor Jim Gillio lead Hollister Coffee and Cars, an unauthorized weekly event at the Target parking lot where attendees can chat and tour over coffee, while admiring classic and contemporary cars of all makes and models.
As car enthusiasts ordered their flavored iced teas, Gomez told BenitoLink that he was happy to support the Mayorgas and hoped to see them at future events.
In the meantime, Gomez and others can find CafÃ© Con Leche at the Bertuccio Farms lot on Airline Highway.
âEveryone from office staff to store associates were delighted to welcome CafÃ© Con Leche. Word has spread around the area that they are fantastic, âBertuccio Market Manager Grant Hughes told BenitoLink.
âWhen one door closes another opens,â Diana said of the need to find their fifth location in four months. She and Edgar plan to stay there for a while, at least until they open a cafe somewhere in town.
Whether it’s from a mobile cart or a building in downtown Hollister, the mayors say CafÃ© Con Leche will always be proud to provide patrons with a delicious, well-made cup of coffee that’s served with a smile. .
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