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Everyday is a winding road...

The story of our little business is quite frankly the story of our journey…one amazingly, unexpected curve that has changed the entire course of our lives. Perhaps the greatest detour in my life was the realization that Mark Bertel, was in fact, the absolute love of my life. You see, for those who do not know Mark and I personally, we have been friends for almost ten years. Yet, it was not until many years later we simply looked at each other and just knew. You guys, we knew. I can’t even begin to explain this feeling, because it’s a feeling I had never known before. I felt calm; I was at total peace. I wasn’t worrying about what I did yesterday, and I wasn’t in a state of fear for tomorrow…the world, in that moment, was okay. And, from that moment on, life has been the same rhythm. We began dating, traveling the world, and owning our lives together. Little did we know, in the summer of 2016 our lives would take another glorious turn for greatness.

That year Mark had been doing remodels across the Ozarks. He was happy to be using his talent in craftsmanship, but he knew he was capable of doing something so much more than the norm. On a whim, he decided he would announce that he was building tiny homes in the area. His cousin, Kerry Colombo, a graphic designer and photographer in St. Louis, Missouri, saw his post and referred him to a lady in St. Louis with high aspirations and new business idea. Tiffany Unger had the fresh idea to create a mobile bar for private events and parties across the St. Louis area. Mark quickly gravitated to this idea. It was uncharted territory…and you all know how much we love the thrill of the unknown. With Unger’s 1960 Avalon camper in hand, and talk of subway tile and butcher block counter tops…the two collaborated and created “Ruthie”. Ruthie is the nickname for their gorgeous, fully functioning travel bar. Unger and her family now have two other fully functioning bars to add to their company, “The Wandering Sidecar Bar Co.”, and we could not be more thankful that they took a chance on us.

Photograph by Mike Cassimatis

We ended that summer engaged to be married and ready to tackle what life had in store next for us. The next leap of faith came from a gal in Alton, Illinois. Holly Neeley was the owner of a 1960’s Frolic camper and she also had a dream. Neeley had seen “Ruthie”, and heard about Mark Bertel Jr. Construction and the kind of work we do. Soon after meeting with Neeley, we knew we wanted to make her dream for “Flights” coffee bar a reality. In six weeks, Mark had created a fully functioning mobile coffee and waffle bar for his amazing mother of three. Equipped with custom “live edge” cedar counter tops and funky turquoise tile, we are in love with the look of “Flights”. We are so thankful for Holly and everything she has done to make our business grow.

Photograph by Logan Slusser

During the same time period of “Flights”, we also began working on a mobile pop-up shop for the St. Louis based clothing company, The Normal Brand. With a 1969 Blazon camper in hand, Mark and his father made custom retractable barn doors and decking for this totally rustic and cool shop. You can see “Betsy Bear”, the clever name they coined for their orange camper, all across the United States at outdoor shows and exhibits in St. Louis. The gentlemen behind The Normal Brand are incredible people are we are lucky to be a part of their brand.

Photograph by Logan Slusser

So, remember when I said something on the lines of… life’s GPS can all of sudden reroute you without your permission and take you through a curvy, winding mountain road and you’re totally terrified and excited all at the same time? Do you understand what I’m saying? Well, in the next post I’ll fully describe the feeling, and the feeling is called Cloud 9 Coffee Bar in Bakersfield, California.

May the road rise to meet you,

Kelsey Jo & Buzz

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