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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    10

    Running a Mobile Shop in WINTER MONTHS???

    Hi,

    We are opening a coffee trailer in Chicago, and we were wondering if anyone is familiar with running a Mobile Coffee Shop/ Cafe in cold weather months? We originally were planning to open in summer, but with converting an old airstream ....contractors took a bit longer than expected...
    Everything would be ready to go by November, but we are wondering how difficult it will be to run through the winters here? ( Chicago is verrrry cold!) Otherwise the other option is to hold off til next year, March 2011...

    Does anyone have experience and advice they can offer on this?

    Like when it gets to 20 - 30 degrees and below? (water tanks, espresso machine... preventing freezing?)
    How do you store overnight?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Des Moines, Iowa
    Posts
    1,552

    Re: Running a Mobile Shop in WINTER MONTHS???

    Your going to needed heated compartments and or tanks. Also your going to want to make sure you have some fail over method encase the power goes out on you. It would be very catastrophic if your equipment were to freeze as well as very expensive to refurbish it back into working order.
    Have you ever walked through the aisle of your local grocer and smelled the death of a dying bean?

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,557

    Re: Running a Mobile Shop in WINTER MONTHS???

    Well this is something I'm very familiar with. Our van was originally built for Arizona weather, but we bought it and live in North Carolina. Winter here is not nearly as severe as what you guys have, but it does dip as low as 12-15 degrees on occasion. Since we operate daily I had to take measures that would allow winterizing to be effective and simple. During the night I use a Stanley utility heater that has a thermostat and ceramic heating element for long life. This little thing keeps it as cozy as I need during even the coldest nights here. Of course once I fire up the espresso machine, water heater, etc. things get toasty and all is well. Here is the heater I use...

    http://www.amazon.com/Stanley-675900-Pr ... 375&sr=8-1

    Our fresh water tanks are on top of the van, but at 45 gallons each I've never had them to freeze up. There are water lines running to them and I encased them in heavy wall pipe insulation, as seen here...

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_21415-1410-S11X ... insulation

    If it gets really cold I will throw an electric heating blanket (the kind for home use) right over the tanks and turn it on MAX. It seems to work great as long as no moisture is present.


    Last thing I did was to run "heat tape" cable along one of the main water lines. This water line comes through the roof to feed both sinks then runs under the van and up through the floor in order to feed the espresso machine. This line did freeze on me because I couldn't fully insulate it because it was routed through part of the vehicle's frame. Bought this product

    http://www.acehardware.com/product/inde ... 14.1259053

    and installed on underside of this water line then insulated over it. Simply plug it in on those really cold nights and it prevents any freeze-ups. Later!
    I'm a legend among my own kind... you my friend are just a legend in your own mind. Later!

  4. #4
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    10

    Re: Running a Mobile Shop in WINTER MONTHS???

    Thank you guys, that was a big help! I sent everything to my husband to get working on it!

    Shadow: You've helped us so much with all your insight! You are truly such an asset to this board!!


    Thanks!

    Chicago

 

 

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