CHEYENNE, Wyo. --
In the Wyoming Air National Guard, drill status guardsmen come from all walks of life. Each of these airmen leave their civilian lives behind to make the trek to Cheyenne one weekend a month. These airmen are professionals, students, or in the case of Staff Sgt. Rachel Martel, a barista and entrepreneur.
Martel, a 153rd Airlift Wing loadmaster, found herself in a predicament earlier this year. She just graduated from Colorado State University, receiving a Bachelor of Arts in international studies with minors in Arabic and international development, and wanted to take a gap year before pursuing graduate school.
Rather than simply taking a year off, Martel wanted this year to be productive. This led her to start her own business, Bump N’ Grind.
Bump N’ Grind is an electric-bicycle propelled coffee cart that serves coffee, pre-packaged goods, and breakfast burritos. Due to the nature of the cart, Martel must do everything manually and primarily does pour-over and French pressed coffee.
“It’s been my dream to open a coffee shop,” said Martel. “This was my opportunity to get my feet wet and see if I actually like it.”
Despite purchasing her cart in Denver, Martel chose to start her journey in Seward, Alaska, where she joined her significant other while he fished for salmon all summer. While in Alaska, Martel served coffee at a central location where she could be found daily. She also traveled to different events such as the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon to serve up coffee and goods. During this time, her unit was understanding of her ambitions and allowed her to make up the regularly scheduled drills she missed.
While running her cart, Martel shared she enjoys dancing and playing music, hence the name Bump N’ Grind.
“It’s fun,” she said. “I like talking to people, and in Alaska, I was able to get to know travelers and the locals.”
After a successful summer, Martel decided to continue to follow her dream and has brought the cart back to Fort Collins, Colorado. Currently, she is in the process of getting inspections and permits in order to operate in the college town.
Once she gets Bump N’ Grind up and running in Fort Collins, Martel plans on partnering with a local coffee roaster in addition to having a regular route and taking part in various events such as farmers markets.
“The flexibility is nice,” she said. ”If there’s a blizzard, I won’t have to go peddle in the snow.”
“For now, I’m enjoying being able to pick it up and go,” she said.”