By Wendy Nugent, Harvey County Now
NEWTON—Newton resident Gretchen Loganbill’s relationship with coffee has been percolating through the years.
She said her coffee connection has changed as she’s become older. When she was young, her association with the ground beans started when she got whiffs of brewing coffee at her grandma’s house, and then there was Starbucks in middle and high school. While in high school, she studied abroad in Brazil.
“That’s when I started myself drinking coffee,” she said.
In Nebraska, Loganbill studied with college friends at The Mill Coffee & Tea while she attended the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, and she and her husband, Eric Loganbill, used to get up on Saturday mornings and go to The Mill. When Loganbill moved to Newton, they’d go back to Nebraska and visit family. The next morning after their Nebraska arrival, the family would sit around and drink coffee—a lot of coffee.
Loganbill’s husband is from Moundridge and they’re carrying on their love of coffee to their kids, of which they have two.
“I have a video of my son’s first word, ‘coffee,'” Loganbill said, adding that she loves coffee, and while she was growing up, her parents always drank coffee.
After moving to Kansas, Loganbill used to ask people coming this way to bring her coffee beans from The Mill.
Because she likes coffee so much, Loganbill is opening her own business, Wild Oak Coffee, in the form of a food trailer, which is a converted horse trailer she found in Oklahoma City.
She hasn’t officially opened for business quite yet. That will happen in July.
“I did a shower this weekend,” she said. “It was a family shower, so it was my trial run.”
Everything went great, Loganbill said.
Loganbill is starting to book events for July onward. She mainly plans to have her coffee trailer at different kinds of private events, like bridal brunches and showers, as well as public events, like possibly Taste of Newton and next year’s Newton Car Show. She said she’s not doing this year’s wedding season and will get a liquor license, as well. Those wishing to book Wild Oak Coffee can do so through the business’s Facebook page or on Instagram.
She’s partnering with Patty Meier with The Bake House in North Newton and will sell items from there, like scones, quiche, cinnamon rolls and cookies. Meier has been like a mentor to Loganbill.
The Omaha, Neb., native loves The Mill coffee beans so much she’s serving it in her business and can get it wholesale.
“I’ve always loved their beans,” she said. “They’re local Midwest. I just wanted to bring a little of Lincoln back here. These beans have a sentimental past for me, I guess.”
Loganbill named the business with her children in mind. Her daughter’s name is Oakley, and her son, Declan, is whom she calls her wild child. That’s where the “wild” part of the name comes from. She’s also incorporated their children’s handprints on the side of a cabinet, which is hidden from the public, to record their hand sizes at various ages. Eric and Loganbill’s dad, Andy Anderson, have been transforming the trailer to suit the business.
To help start her business, Loganbill received a grant from the Network Kansas, a state entrepreneur program, through the Newton Area Chamber of Commerce, she said.
Loganbill plans to keep the coffee menu simple and will do seasonals. She said her forte is iced Americano topped with a caramel biscoff cold foam.
“My plan is to have two signature items,” she said.
Another seasonal offering will be peppermint mocha in the winter, and she’ll also sell Americanos and lattes.
Loganbill’s wanted to do this for several years.
“I think I told you when I met you I wanted to have a coffee shop, but not commit to a storefront,” she said to her husband.
That was about six years ago.
“I love coffee,” she said. “It is the coffee. When I get new beans, I say I can’t wait to get up in the morning and drink coffee.”
But it’s not just about the coffee. It’s about the experience—being present and enjoying her coffee.
Loganbill, who has a day job at Heartland Credit Union, has practiced making coffee a lot. She also took a Clive Coffee one-on-one class. Also, when she first got her machine, the company from which she bought it was quite helpful in telling her what she needed and how to run it.
Loganbill also wants to do popups in the area, like in Newton, Moundridge and Halstead, and maybe attend a Wichita event.