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Friday, September 30, 2022

Made to Order

In 1931, Wally Byam dreamed of creating a lightweight first-class trailer — the Airstream. Little did he know, the mobile home later would become the subject of countless HGTV shows, Pinterest boards, and a setting for small businesses around the world including Jasper, Indiana’s, Smalley Coffee.

Smalley Coffee, located at 2955 Newton St., serves handcrafted coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, chai, teas, smoothies, and baked goods out of a Craigslist-purchased 1966 Airstream trailer. The iconic travel vehicle always fascinated Jasper resident Josh Premuda and it was his dream to create a new type of coffee place with a walk-up window and a drive-thru.

He formerly lived in Washington, D.C., where he sampled a different coffee spot each weekend, and Denver during the time when food trucks exploded into the market. Premuda relocated to Jasper in 2010 where his wife and her family are from.

“I was up late one night on Craigslist and I found (the Airstream),” says Premuda, 36, who attended Ohio University, Athens, Ohio, and has a background in digital marketing. “It was a steal. My father-in-law and his brother towed it back for me in Owensboro (Kentucky). Ten to 12 years ago, I would sit and drink coffee and think about how to do this. My mom swears I talked about my plan in high school.”

After purchasing the Airstream, Premuda worked to gut the trailer and renovate it from a living space to a working café. “Everything was original,” he says. “It was pretty raw. It was old and all needed to be replaced.”

Two years elapsed before Smalley Coffee opened in the parking lot adjacent to the Smoke Shop and across from Yamato Steak House of Japan. The coffee shop, which has a small bar with stools and a table and chairs outside, is stationary and connected to city utilities. Smalley Coffee uses Rex Roasting, a roaster in Terre Haute, Indiana, which Premuda says may be one of the freshest coffees you can find. The company also sells Arnold Palmer flavored ice teas, coffee by the pound, T-shirts, mugs, and coffee cups.

“Everything we do is by hand from the coffee, to the art, to the restoration,” says Premuda who works with fellow Jasper resident Wes Zipp. “We just kind of roll our sleeves up and do it.”

For more information about Smalley Coffee, call 812-482-2442 or visit smalleycoffee.com.

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