His coffee biz is what the hubbub's about

ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Crockett, owner of HubBub Coffee, recently branched beyond the food-truck business to open a storefront cafe, at 17th and Arch streets in Logan Square.
ALEJANDRO A. ALVAREZ / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Crockett, owner of HubBub Coffee, recently branched beyond the food-truck business to open a storefront cafe, at 17th and Arch streets in Logan Square.
Posted: July 18, 2013

A NDREW CROCKETT, 30, of Center City, is founder and owner of HubBub Coffee. A Penn grad who grew up in Rosemont and worked four years on Wall Street, he started the HubBub Truck at 38th and Spruce streets in 2009 with less than $70,000. He opened a retail store in Logan Square in January.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for the business?

A: When I was a student at Penn, it was a cultural norm to frequent food trucks. When I graduated and moved to New York, every morning there was a truck where I'd get my coffee, and the owner figured out how to put an espresso machine in there. I thought: Why isn't anybody doing this in another city?

Q: Backstory behind the name?

A: My grandmother always asked: "What's all the hubbub about?" We wanted a brand, but there's also the intangibles. It's a Gaelic word that was used to describe the gathering of crowds and has since come to mean creating excitement about something.

Q: So how does the truck model work? You get a permit to rent space and park the truck?

A: Right, the annual rent is $2,750. A bigger issue is getting a license, because there's only a certain amount of them. We were on a waiting list for about two years.

Q: How much coffee do you sell at the truck, and to whom?

A: Our customers are students, faculty, staff, doctors, nurses, in general the West Philadelphia community. On any day we serve between 150 and 250 customers.

Q: What are the sales on Monday through Friday?

A: Probably somewhere between $500 and $700 a day.

Q: Did the biz model change when you opened the store?

A: The truck complements the store, and vice versa. One of the misconceptions about the truck model is you don't pay rent and fixed costs are lower, but you still have to prep food in a commercial kitchen or restaurant. We can streamline that by running the truck business from our store.

Q: So how big a business is this?

A: We'll do somewhere between $200,000 and $500,000 in total revenue this year.

Q: What differentiates you from other coffee retailers?

A: We source everything with the idea that customers want to support local farms and coffee roasters we buy from that align with our core values. We also believe there's more than one way to enjoy coffee. We serve it as espresso, drip coffee or Chemex, a way to prepare a single poured coffee.

Q: How many employees?

A: We have 10 or 11; most are part- time and two are full-time.

Q: What's next for HubBub?

A: We'd like to open more stores in Philly. We signed a lease to open a shop in University City in the fall. That'll allow us to explore other markets and expose customers to our brand. We're at the Navy Yard for two days a week during the summer.


On Twitter: @MHinkelman

Online: ph.ly/YourBusiness

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