Nancy Ciara, owner/GM of Jackson Effie Coffee Cabin, is a successful businesswoman who took a chance last fall when she rolled her truck into the parking lot at WooBerry, a small-batch ice cream shop on Highland Street in Worcester.
WooBerry’s owner Brendan Melican had offered to let Ciara’s Coffee Cabin truck sit in his parking lot in the mornings to capture some of the student foot traffic near WPI.
“After a successful run we decided to partner in opening an espresso and wellness coffee bar inside,” said Ciara. The CBD-infused coffee has had a great response, she said, and so has her breakfast sandwiches made with local eggs, cheese and meat. Fresh baked goods also are available.
“It’s a real cooperative between a long-standing Worcester establishment and a food truck,” said Ciara about working out of WooBerry. The coffee bar opens at 9 a.m. Monday through Friday and at 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. It stays open to match WooBerry’s closing time, according to Ciara.
The award-winning WooBerry is located at 141 Highland St., Worcester. The business opened in 2011 as Worcester’s first frozen yogurt shop.
The coffee bar specializes in local roasted, small-batch drip coffee and espresso from Karma Coffee Roasters in Sudbury. Ciara brews a line of CBD-infused (wellness) coffee from Denver. Lemonade also is on the menu.
Ciara said she got into the coffee business quite by accident. “One day I was in Sudbury and found Karma Coffee. I had a cup of coffee and really loved it. Before I knew it, I was in a conversation with the owner about coffee beans. I’m curious and pretty outgoing, and Karma’s owner became a mentor, taking me under his wings, teaching me the roasting process and how to run a successful coffee business.
“Karma is a small-batch roaster that hand-packs its coffee,” said Ciara. “I worked at the business for months. There’s so much to learn about roasting coffee, but I knew coffee was where I wanted to hang my hat. I had the momentum and then the knowledge so I decided to go with it. I have a much deeper appreciation of coffee than I ever had.
“There’s a lot to consider when you’re in a mobile setting. The humidity can definitely have an effect on roasting. For me, every shot of espresso has to be perfect. Cleaning and maintenance of the machine is a process, and properly maintaining your equipment is one of the most important things. Unfortunately, not everyone in the business follows the same steps.”
Ciara grew up in upstate New York, lived in Chicago for a while and graduated from Ohio State University. She has a degree in aviation engineering and in accounting. She married her “best friend of 10 years.” Ciara and her husband, Nathan, reside in Princeton with their three children, Jackson, Effie and Chloe.
Ciara previously had a seafood truck, shucking oysters in and around the Boston and Worcester area. She bought her trailer in 2016 and “drivable” truck in 2017. The Jackson Effie Coffee Cabin has parked along parade routes and served coffee at local festivals, including on college campuses. Ciara (and truck) will be at the Brimfield Antique Flea Market (Crystal Brook Lot) May 13-May 19 in Brimfield and again in July and September. For a full event schedule and more info, visit www.coffeecabinma.com.
“I love life on the truck,” said Ciara, who explained she was never that much into food so the coffee truck is a better fit. She employs several people, two of them work at the coffee bar at WooBerry.
She said her son Jackson sometimes hops on the truck for short trips. “He takes money and loves to chat with customers,” said Ciara, who takes the winter off to spend more time with her family.
“We’re heading into the busiest time of the year for the truck,” said Ciara about the summer and fall. “I really love what I’m doing,” she said. “There’s lot of activity, and it’s fun.”
Wayback Burgers is observing National Hamburger Month this month with “surprise deals.”
Every day in May, guests who have downloaded the Wayback Burgers app will have access to a surprise deal, which may include a discount on a meal, double or triple points earned on purchases or even a free side or drink.
On May 28, National Hamburger Day, Wayback Burgers is offering each guest (whether they have downloaded the app or not) its signature premium burgers, including the Cheeeesy Burger and Double Bacon Burger, for $3 each.
“We are excited to celebrate National Hamburger Month with our guests,” said Patrick Conlin, Wayback Burgers’ president. “We have so many good deals in store, we can’t wait to share. All our guests need to do to participate is download the app. It’s that easy!”