The Greater Good

Good Jo Coffee & Espresso Bar

The first thing everyone notices about Good Jo Coffee & Espresso Bar is Josie. That’s the 1965 Oasis travel trailer that Good Jo co-owner Lanaya Nilsson spent the summer of 2018 gutting and rebuilding. “I sat in that trailer for hours, just sitting and looking around,” Nilsson says. “It was like my baby.” Since last January, Nilsson and co-owner Kathy Chance have towed Josie to farmers markets and catered events around town. Powered by propane, they serve some of the best organic coffees, teas and Italian sodas in the city. But there’s more to this “mom-owned” mobile coffee shop than a sweet ride.

How did Good Jo get started?
Nilsson: We know each other because my oldest son and her only son used to be friends. We were sitting on the beach, and I said to her, “I really want to start a coffee shop. But I don’t want it to be a brick-and-mortar, because the overhead is too expensive.” We went home, and the trailer was three streets down from her house. It just fell into our laps.

Why do you serve Pachamama Coffee?
Nilsson: We tested a dozen different roasters in the Sacramento area. I liked Pachamama because of their ethics. It’s farmer-owned, and the farmers get a quarter per cup of coffee.

Chance: And they give that money back to their communities. They’re using organic farming methods. It’s good for the environment.

What have you learned in your first year doing business?
Chance: We’ve done our fair share of trying to park in front of office parks. Food trucks do it, but we’ve sat there in 32 degrees and sold $5 worth of drinks.
Nilsson: When we only sell five to 10 cups of coffee, it’s too hard for us. That’s why we are trying to do more catering options, open houses for Realtors, weddings. We did a wedding this weekend in Volcano.

What are your long-term goals?
Nilsson: We want to help our community. That’s why we did a fundraiser for the Camp Fire. We raised almost $2,000 in four hours. It’s important to us that we help.

Good Jo Coffee & Espresso Bar makes regular appearances at the Carmichael Park and Sunrise farmers markets.