- Associated Press - Sunday, October 30, 2016

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - For 32-year-old Micah Trexler, becoming the owner of a table-top mobile coffee shop is a long way off from his original plan of becoming a pastor.

But the mission is still the same: serve people, but through a delicious cup of coffee.

Back in the summer of 2014, Trexler took to Facebook to ask his friends for help in coming up with a name for a coffeehouse.

“I wanted something I had never heard,” Trexler said. “My friend Justin was the one who said, ‘What about Perking House?’”

From there, The Perking House Coffee and Tea Company was born.

“It literally started out in a major turning point of my life,” Trexler said. “I was talking about (doing) a coffee business . but I didn’t really take it seriously until I needed to make a decision.”

Trexler said that turning point was in July 2014. It came down to either continuing his education at Liberty University or opening a coffee business. Fate seemed to lead Trexler more toward coffee.

“My internship fell through,” he said. “I had no place to live so it really came at the perfect time.”

A veteran, Trexler had no prior business experience. All he had was a love for coffee.

“At first in high school, I really enjoyed drinking coffee,” he said. “It wasn’t like a fanatical thing. I just liked the idea of drinking coffee and feeling awake.”

It eventually grew from drinking coffee causally, he said, to asking why it tasted good, and how could he get it to taste better?

Trexler set out to learn as much as he could. An avid reader, he started reading books about businesses. Having his business be debt-free also helped him learn from his mistakes.

“I remember being at a farmers market where my table flipped over and damaged my equipment,” Trexler said. “Now I laugh about it. You’re going to make mistakes, but I’d rather learn on my own dime than pay interest on it later.”

Despite the “house” in the name, Trexler doesn’t have a physical storefront. Instead, he does most of his roasting from his home on Rivermont Avenue and attends events, such as weddings. He has also become a regular seller at the Liberty University Farmers Market, which is held on Thursdays.

The unique approach is something Trexler prides himself on.

“In Europe they have . a mobile market,” he said. “I believe we can reach 400 to 500 people more by being a (mobile business).”

Owning a business has helped Trexler make personal strides. As time went on, he realized there was more to running a business than helping himself.

“It’s a people business,” Trexler said of coffee. “I wanted to find a way to be involved with a person and a community on a daily basis and serve them on their level.”

Leading up to his time at Liberty, Trexler said he built relationships and found mentors who started pushing him in the right direction. But the business has also brought lifelong friends into Trexler’s life, including Nathan Breaux, who works on branding for the company.

“Business was the last thing I ever saw myself doing,” Breaux said. “I found my business personality was more (personal) based. I’m more interested in a person’s story and how we can fit into it. I don’t have that car salesman persona.”

But Trexler’s mission to connect with people, he said, has him confident he’ll be part of The Perking House for the rest of his life.

Trexler sees the future of Perking House mobilizing more in the next few years. He said he plans on having a working kiosk and a trailer somewhere down the line.

As for anyone else looking to start a business? Trexler said he’s got some advice.

“Write everything down,” he said. “Become passionate. . Don’t let anyone tell you (you) can’t do it.”

___

Information from: The News & Advance, https://www.newsadvance.com/

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