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Hidden Gems: Meet Emilio Daniel Vasquez of Coffee Cart Boys

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emilio Daniel Vasquez.

Hi Emilio, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started this business because I no longer wanted to be just another cog in the corporate retail machine.

I began to build relationships with my business partners whom I met at my retail job (where I actually did really well for myself). All of us but one I had met there, and I recruited them with the idea that they were better than this current situation too.

So, after one of the partners introduced me to the owner’s son of a Nicaraguan coffee farm, Ernesto, he and I hit it off.

We started talking non-stop about being fathers and quickly bonded, unlike most friendships I’ve had. I decided that this was it: This is the industry where I wanted to take my passions for people, business, and philanthropy. I decided to bring my friends from retail aboard because I knew they were destined for something greater, and then Coffee Cart Boys was born.

My motivation every day is my son. He’s everything to me and the legacy of this business will hopefully one day be his to own and continue. I started this business not just because of my current career or son, but also because of my community. I was raised in a less-than-fortunate living situation amongst several siblings and at one point was couch surfing with my single mom because we couldn’t afford a place of our own.

The work we do with the local non-profit, Learning Works Charter School (LWCS) in Pasadena, California, is all about ensuring at-risk youth stay off the streets and in the classroom to get their high school diplomas; something I did fortunately receive.

I don’t want any child to experience the homelessness I did or the multitude of other troubles they’re facing without a stable home life, which is something LWCS does its best to help prevent.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Entrepreneurship is never a smooth road. The journey is about hitting a pothole resulting in a flat tire and figuring out how to fix it so you can keep going. Sometimes fixing the flat takes longer than expected or you have to call a tow truck for help. And, knowing what the destination is is what keeps you motivated to fix the flat. A positive mindset is the most important part.

There’s also no time to complain or be negative. Naturally, as an owner, I’m responsible for keeping a solutions-focused mindset, and no matter what, I have to keep finding ways to pay the bills (both my own and the company’s). Keeping the team focused and energized means I must also always be focused and energetic. As we all know, this is a challenge in itself.

At the end of the day, I want my company to thrive, grow and be a force for change. However, if my team isn’t happy or on the same page about the company’s vision, I have to ensure they are heard and understood so we’re all feeling positive about doing this together.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Coffee Cart Boys?
We’re a group who had 90s childhoods, and we all just happen to really love coffee! We’re a black and minority-owned, small business on a mission to change the perception of black coffee in America by serving Specialty Coffees from around the world.

“Traditional” black coffee in America is either bitter or it’s just the first ingredient in a sugar bomb cocktail, which is then marketed as “coffee” for over $5/cup. Coffee as many of us know it has become just like any mass-produced fast food: Unnecessarily quick, poor in flavor quality, the opposite of natural, and more often than not unhelpful to global agriculture ecology and labor standards.

Coffee brings people together as a joyful social experience and was never meant to be mass-produced. But, the need for people to fire on all cylinders at any given moment never fades, as we’re a fast-paced, health-conscious society in an age of multitasking and instant gratification…

Our customer is someone who:
1. Wants a delicious AND convenient coffee experience they can share with their friends and family.
2. Believes there’s something better than drive-through coffee packed with copious amounts of sugar, syrups, whipped cream, and overhyped loyalty of poor quality.
3. Wants to fight for a healthier planet, small businesses, and a positive impact on their local community.
4. Thinks coffee farmers, pickers and other producers outside the US deserve higher wages so they can enjoy better standards of living.
5. Wants to seem more approachable, entrepreneurial opportunities available to those who are hungry enough to achieve independent success.

Taste the difference with us as guides on your journey to better flavor in your cup!

We love surprises, fun facts, and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
I was literally a miracle baby; I was born after my mother’s tubal ligation procedure.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sean Ireton (@nuinspiration on Instagram)

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