Couple will launch retro coffee cart to visit Maine’s farmers markets and events
A couple who moved to Maine from North Carolina last year will take their new mobile coffee shop to farmers markets and events around the state this spring.
Whittle Bird Coffee began operating in October, when owners Chris and Missy Wallace brought their coffee and baked goods to markets in Skowhegan and Boothbay, and to The Lost Kitchen’s market in Freedom. Late last month, they opened a pop-up shop at 83 East Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft.
The Wallaces plan to launch their mobile coffee cart in April or May, when it’s warm enough for the espresso machine, water tanks and other equipment to operate outside, Chris Wallace said. He and his wife will travel in a retro-style trailer that they are picking up from a Tennessee manufacturer this week, offering treats such as their popular salted maple latte and bourbon rye chocolate chunk cookies.
“We’re entrepreneurs. Coffee has been my passion for a long time, and she loves drinking it,” Chris Wallace said.
Their hope is to bring the coffee cart to weddings and other events. The Wallaces have already committed to markets in Skowhegan, Belgrade Lakes, and Freedom this spring, each on a different day of the week, and they’re considering others.
The pop-up in Dover-Foxcroft will close when the mobile coffee cart begins traveling. It has been so well-received that Chris Wallace wants to park the coffee cart in town once a week and maintain a presence there, which won’t be too difficult because he and his wife live in the nearby town of Parkman, he said.
The Wallaces, who are in their late 40s, ran two coffee shops in Cornelius, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina, from 2011 to 2013. They missed it, and they hope to use their business as a way to encourage people to slow down, grab a beverage and savor the simple pleasures in life.
That’s also why they moved to Maine. At their home in Parkman, they feel the pace of life is slower and more relaxed than North Carolina.
“We want to focus on doing things really well, taking it slow and encouraging people to do the same,” Chris Wallace said, noting Whittle Bird Coffee’s focus on organic, homemade products and small-batch baked goods.
The business is named for a hand-carved, wooden bird made by Chris Wallace’s grandfather. The keepsake is one of few items left from him, and it serves as a reminder of simpler times and slowing down to enjoy each other’s company.
Missy Wallace mills flour for her baked goods, which change each week at the pop-up shop in Dover-Foxcroft. Offerings have included biscotti, banana bread, coffee cake, chocolate crinkle cookies and scones, both savory and sweet varieties.
“We just had vanilla almond scones,” Chris Wallace said. “Before that it was ham, cheese and chive scones. She likes to switch things up.”
He is focused on making the coffee. Drinks include espresso shots, lattes, cortados, cappuccinos, americanos, nitro brew and drip coffee. A mocha, orange cardamom latte and winter frost cold brew are specialties this winter, all made with homemade syrups, Chris Wallace said. There will be new options in the spring.
Before moving to Maine, Chris Wallace, who is from Missouri, ran a window tinting business for 23 years. Missy Wallace, who is from California, is a graphic designer and offers products on her website and Etsy shop, called M+C Studio.
Throughout 2022, the couple traveled across the country, looking for their next adventure.
“When we got back to North Carolina, we remembered our vacation in Maine six or seven years ago,” Chris Wallace said. “We like the cold. So we came in January, bought a house in February and moved in March. It’s more laid-back here, like the old days.”