Fun Bus Coffee Roasters LLC
Who? Brian and Brina Kimes, head roaster and facilitator of awesomeness, respectively, are the proprietors of Fun Bus Coffee Roasters, a small batch, veteran-owned coffee roasting company located in Fort Worth.
When? Fun Bus Coffee began in 2019.
Where? Fun Bus Coffee ships free within 20 miles of the 76116 ZIP code and can usually be found at events during the week and on weekends.
Brina Kimes is co-founder, with husband Brian Kimes, of Fun Bus Coffee. She shared their business story with the Fort Worth Report Business Editor Bob Francis.
Francis: Tell us how you got started?
Kimes: My husband was in the Army and I was in the beer business. I worked at Rahr. And then I don’t know if you remember Zio Carlo’s?
Francis: On Magnolia?
Kimes: At Magnolia and College. And so when we got married, we were stationed in Washington, right outside of Olympia. And he was close to retirement. So we were kind of talking about, “What are we going to do once you retire?” And we have children. And I was like, “Well, I know beer.” And he’s like, “Yeah, it’s not really a great environment for kids. We can’t start a brew pub necessarily.” And we’re like, “Well, what else do we love?” Well, we love coffee because I’ll drink coffee all day. And so we decided we were going to start roasting coffee.
It started as a hobby. I had some friends here that roasted coffee, and so he sent me a book and a small bag of green beans, and we ran with it. And so we were roasting coffee probably for about seven years, and then we moved back to Fort Worth. He retired. And a friend of ours was like, “Hey, you guys roast coffee, right?” We’re like, “Yeah. He’s like, I’d like to buy a bag.” I was like, “Oh, OK.”
Francis: And how did you get the name Fun Bus when you don’t have a bus?
Kimes: When we were in Washington, we bought a school bus and our plan was to turn that into a mobile coffee shop because that’s kind of a big thing in Washington.
And the whole food truck scene up there was a lot bigger than it was in Fort Worth at the time. But we started building out the school bus, and then the Army said, “Hey, we’re actually going to move you to Oklahoma and you’re going to deploy.” And so we had to get rid of the school bus and move to Oklahoma, the land of no good coffee. And so we kind of put that dream on hold, what we thought was probably going to be a permanent hold. But then we got here, and our friend asked us to buy a bag of coffee. So we’re like, “Hey, let’s start this up.”
It was the middle of the pandemic. I was a dental assistant, and so my job was put on hold for sure. So we had plenty of free time to build our business plan and everything like that. So we started roasting coffee. We do farmer’s markets and things like that. And all of our friends jumped on board like, “Yes, absolutely, let’s do this.” And so we’ve just been roasting and selling as fast as we can ever since November of 2019.
Francis: But you’re still called Fun Bus?
Kimes: We do not have a bus, but we had already worked on all the graphics and the domain name and everything like that, so we just kept that dream. And the bus was so fun when we were tearing it out because we bought it as an actual school bus. It was yellow, it had the seats, the gum under the seats, everything. And all of our friends would come over and help us take everything out and build all the counters and things that we were going to need. And I’m not sure if we had more fun or did more work. Some days it varied, so we went with Fun Bus.
It’s a lot of fun. And then we’ve got our slogans that we like to keep. Our label says, “It’s too early for whiskey.” Just kind of trying to keep everything light. A lot of people take coffee so seriously, and we didn’t want to be those people. I want good coffee, but I also don’t … In Washington especially, there was a lot of pretentiousness when it came to coffee. And I mean, it’s coffee. Let’s just have a good time.
Francis: What sets your coffee apart? …
Kimes: The biggest thing is we like to experiment with our beans. Creating new recipes that break apart from single origin style roasts is a passion of ours. We like to have a good time with coffee. It’s very easy drinking. It’s our breakfast style coffee. It’s not overpowering. It’s got the dark notes to it that people love, but it’s also got some light notes to it that makes it perfect for a big crowd. We put a lot of love into our coffee.
Our blend is three different styles of coffee. They’re roasted in different levels and combined to create the flavor profile that we’ve been working on for about eight years. So I just think the fun and the love is what we deliver. That makes it a little bit different where you don’t have to think about it. You don’t have to go down to your local roaster and pick it up. Just make an order and we’ll put it on your porch.
Francis: That’s cool.
Kimes: There’s a lot of things to worry about, especially post-pandemic and coffee shouldn’t be that hard.
Francis: What are future plans for Fun Bus Coffee?
Kimes: We’d love to get into a brick-and-mortar eventually, but my husband did 21 years in the Army, so we don’t necessarily want to be married to a coffee shop. It’s not necessarily our goal. We’d love to provide coffee for other coffee shops, for smaller ones so that they can have the delicious beans that we offer. And we’re working on getting a bigger roaster where people can come in and tour and come in and look. That was something that we always enjoyed, was going to visit places that had the active roasting so that you can watch as more of an experience to go with your cup of coffee. But we are starting out. We’re just a baby company, having a good time.
Francis: Do you have any advice for other people who are starting a business?
Kimes: Research. You never know what you’re fully getting into until you’re in it. And just reading every single thing. My husband, Brian, and I just read everything that we can and ask for help. We’ve got a CPA that helps us figure out costs and things like that, and what’s a right investment, what’s a wrong investment. And you’re always going to make a couple of mistakes. Every single thing we do, we learn something from. And that is a great experience.
Bob Francis is business editor for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.