Here's How Three Friends Started a Mobile Coffee Shop With Just P6,000

Today they earn around P200,000 monthly.

the city brew ilocos mobile coffee shop main image
PHOTO BY Instagram/thecitybrewilocos

When Laoag-based friends Carl Jasper Ardan, Maryvan Abella, and Vincent Calimag thought of starting their own business during the pandemic, they instantly thought of making coffee, being big fans themselves of the beverage.

With Abella still in college, the three decided they needed to design the café in such a way that even students could start the same business too. Their capital? Just P6,000. That's how they set up The City Brew, a mobile café.

the city brew ilocos mobile coffee shop
The City Brew is a mobile coffee shop in Laoag.
PHOTO BY Instagram/thecitybrewilocos

"We came up with the name The City Brew kasi 'yong goal namin as a team hindi lang siya pang-Laoag," Calimag says. "Pang-different municipalities, cities, provinces, and of course, makilala dito sa Pilipinas."

the city brew ilocos mobile coffee shop coffee
PHOTO BY Instagram/thecitybrewilocos

Slow start

Ardan shares that at first, things were difficult as only he had a background in business. But all three of them had no experience at all in managing a café, and they had to learn the ropes quickly. Initially, The City Brew only offered a variant of cold brew. After two good weeks in operation, however, their sales plummeted.

"We came to realize na marami palang tao na may ayaw ng black," Ardan recalls. This prompted the three business owners to provide additional flavored options, which became key to The City Brew's success.

the city brew ilocos mobile coffee shop drinks
Adding other flavored coffee drinks aside from a classic black helped pump up their sales.
PHOTO BY Instagram/thecitybrewilocos
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The friends are also thankful to Ilocos Norte's tourism campaign "I'm In", which promotes tourism in the province. "After three to five months lang, nakita na namin na worth it 'yong business," Calimag concludes. "Kasi grabe lang 'yong suporta ng mga customers namin, 'yong mga tao."

A good cup of joe

The City Brew became so popular that patrons even started inquiring if the business was up for franchising. On weekdays, they sell at least 50 cups a day, on weekends up to 100 cups a day, and during special events, more than 100 cups. Their bestsellers are their Salted Caramel, Vanilla Caramel Cream, and White Mocha variants.

"Sabi nila ang ganda ng packaging, ang ganda ng mobile café setup natin, and at the same time, 'yong product na sine-serve natin, competitive siya," Vincent shares.

Currently, the four earn P200,000 a month from The City Brew. While they admit being tempted to take their share already, they decided to re-invest their earnings into the business.

How to brew success

As budding entrepreneurs in their twenties, they've each gained important life lessons from The City Brew.

"Starting a business is not as easy," Abella realizes. "It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. Most especially sa 'kin kasi jinu-juggle ko 'yong time ko as a student and as a young entrepreneur at the same time."

For Ardan, he's learned to become even more patient. "Kung nag-give up kami, wala sana 'to ngayon," he says. "But because of pagiging patient namin, naging possible siya. It really requires time."


Calimag, meanwhile, reminds aspiring entrepreneurs to find their passion first, something which Ardan echoes. "You should start a business kung saan ka masaya, kung saan ka kumportable," Vincent notes.

"Invest in yourself first," Ardan adds. "Alamin mo kung ano 'yong passion mo, 'pag ginawa mo 'to, happy [na] happy ka. Then that's the start na i-start mo 'yong gusto mong negosyo."

"Mag-isip ka ng product na feasible and in demand to the current situation," Abella advises. "And if you feel like it's really your time to start up a business, then don't wait for tomorrow."

Watch the full OG Channel video here:

This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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