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A Cumming coffee shop owner and her customer have created the perfect way to get a cup of joe on the go
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Jalynn Barr, owner of Community Cup coffee shop in downtown Cumming, and Bob Christian, a regular customer, collaborated on turning a 1993 horse trailer into a mobile coffee trailer to use for local events and also make available for the public to rent. - photo by Brian Paglia

Bob Christian has always been a tinkerer, but retirement offered the former federal law enforcement officer the chance to indulge in his proclivity for creating with recycled metal and wood materials. A regular coffee drinker, he’d thought about making a mobile cart to serve coffee at local events.

Then he discovered Community Cup, the local coffee shop in downtown Cumming, and saw the potential for a unique partnership. He got to know owner Jalynn Barr and eventually pitched her the idea.

“We were stoked,” Barr said. “We had talked about how we’d like to be able to get out into the community more, to be able to do things off-site: catering, whatever it is. But we weren’t sure how to do it.

“So when (Christian) brought (his idea), I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yes! That’s the perfect vehicle.”

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Bob Christian, a regular at Community Cup, the local coffee shop in downtown Cumming, and Jalynn Barr, the shop's owner, collaborated to refurbish a 1993 horse trailer into a mobile coffee cart to use at local events and rent out to the public. - photo by Brian Paglia

The two got to work. Last fall, Christian bought a 1993 horse trailer in south Georgia and gutted it down to the frame. He refurbished the wood interior and replaced some of the metal exterior with oak. He installed three bar countertops, at Barr’s recommendation.

A few months later, they were ready to test it at the Cumming Christmas Parade and Festival last December.

“It was perfect,” Barr said.

Christian and Barr have turned the trailer into the epitome of a community venture.

For Barr, it’s a supplement to her downtown coffee shop that quickly gained a foothold in the community after it opened in 2017. She envisions using it at events around the county. She’s even started talking with local schools about serving coffee for staff once a month and donating back part of the proceeds.

“Trying to stick to our mission of being in the community and involved in the community,” Barr said, “because that’s the most important part of what we do. Second after that is serving coffee.”

For Christian, it’s a creative outlet. The Forsyth County resident creates “quirky stuff” through his custom-design workshop called I’ve Got Milk, and he has a passion for using recycled materials. The wood on the trailer’s exterior is reclaimed oak from a late-1800s local home, he said, and the metal for the countertops came from a local recycler.

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Bob Christian turns on the lights inside the coffee trailer he refurbished with Community Cup owner Jalynn Barr on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. - photo by Brian Paglia

“My thing is recycling, and trying to work with local vendors; ‘cottage vendors’ is what I call them,” Christian said. “... I’d rather buy from somebody who’s building good equipment and help them.”

The duo has enhanced the trailer since its Christmas debut with various accessories. Christian installed LED lights inside. Other lights and glass vases can be magnetically attached to the trailer. Christian framed rectangular chalkboards for menus and signs, and he made a large, vintage-style arrow that lights up.

Barr and Christian have more ideas, but they say it’s now ready to be rented for fundraisers, weddings and other events.

“I’m not trying to make a killing on it,” Christian said. “... Let’s just have some fun.”