GENOA – Steph and Nick Bradac warmly greeted a slew of customers on a muggy, humid Friday morning after the Fourth of July, when they set up shop in their new coffee-on-the-go mobile café in the parking lot of 215 Sycamore Road in Genoa.
Nick Bradac, 35, and wife Steph Bradac, 36, said it was a “leap of faith” that took them from wishful-thinking coffee lovers to full-on business owners, selling espresso drinks, coffee classics and freshly baked goods from DeKalb-based Barb City Bagels out of a used traveling produce truck they bought from a farmer in Woodstock. The parents of four boys – Collin, 7, Killian, 5; Finn, 3, and Rowan, 1 – said they wanted to fill a small business niche in Genoa. Serving people and creating a positive gathering space for the residents of Genoa is what drove the duo to establish OpenDoor Coffee.
“Whether we are on wheels or in a brick-and-mortar, we just want people to feel welcomed, that they belong somewhere, that there’s someone who will try to remember their name or that their daughter had an orthodontist appointment,” Steph Bradac said Friday, while husband Nick served a cup of cold brew, a favorite menu commodity, to a customer.
“We also draw from our faith,” she continued. “So the verse Matthew 7:7-8 ‘Ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you,’ that really tied the name together for us.”
OpenDoor Coffee sells locally roasted, sustainably sourced beans from Geneva-based FreshGrounds Roasting Co., with Monin syrups. Oat milk is available for nondairy lovers. Customers also can purchase the beans whole, have them ground up fresh to take home, or enjoy a made-to-order drink on the spot. Popular items are the cold brew coffee, which also can be bought by the growler for $12 and then $9 for refills. For the noncoffee lovers, there’s chai tea, Italian soda, steamers and hot cocoa.
Steph Bradac’s personal go-to is the “Four Boy Mom” coffee, a Honduran dark roast.
“We love good coffee,” Steph Bradac said. “But our goal was not to caffeinate our town. We really want to help provide a gathering space.”
Nick and Steph Bradac have been married for 10 years, and met while Steph, a Seattle native, was working in marketing in the Chicago area. Nick Bradac, a Northern Illinois University graduate from the Fox Valley area, left his career in safety and environmental engineering for a paper company after wanting to do something more with his life. They’ve been selling the beans out of their home for about a year and a half, and opened the truck June 10.
“I was disenchanted with the career path I was in,” Nick Bradac said. “I was just like, is there something different? So we say, ‘Why not us? Why not our town? Why not now?’ ”
Genoa’s population of about 5,000 means mom-and-pop coffee spots are tough to find in town.
“We’re in a small town, so everybody talks to everybody,” he said, adding their seasonal parking lot location seems to be gaining momentum. “Somebody said, ‘I was on my way down to the Starbucks in Jewel, and I’d rather buy coffee from you guys.’ ”
The truck does Mix-It-Up Mondays, with varied locations and open times. Customers can find the schedule on the business’ Facebook and Instagram pages.
OpenDoor Coffee can be spotted from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays at the DeKalb Farmers Market in the Van Buer Plaza and from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays in the parking lot at 215 Sycamore Road in Genoa. Saturdays are for events only, and interested parties can book the truck by calling 815-991-6281 or emailing email@example.com.