Toast, a mobile lounge, started serving up drinks three years ago, and now its founder plans to license the concept.
Carol Clark was inspired to build a pub box out of a 20-foot trailer after she organized Durango’s annual Oktoberfest celebration, which is put on by San Juan Citizens Alliance, and noticed that vendors typically set up folding banquet tables and then drape them with a white linen cloth that tended to get covered in spilled beer and wine by the end of the night.
“It could be so much cooler,” she recalled thinking at the time.
The result was a trailer wrapped in barn wood and fitted with a bar, sound system, TV and a solar panel system, so it can run off the grid.
Clark was one of six company founders who presented at a showcase Wednesday held by the Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs for its recent graduates and for other local startup companies that have new ideas to pitch to investors.
SCAPE is an intensive six-month program that provides an equity investment and mentoring to entrepreneurs to help them develop a product, launch it and find investors. It is supported by investors, local businesses and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Region 9, La Plata Economic Development Alliance, the city of Durango and the Small Business Development Center.
The program, founded in 2013, has launched 19 companies that employ more than 60 people.
At Wednesday’s showcase, the program invited investors and the public to hear pitches by local entrepreneurs. If any idea interests someone, they can choose to invest in the business.
In its first year in business three years ago, Toast was booked for 12 events. This year, Clark expects to be booked for 42 events, ranging from weddings to retirement parties. She has been booked for events in Grand Junction, Denver, Salt Lake City and Santa Fe.
SCAPE helped Clark prepare to grow. She plans to have more company-owned lounges and license more mobile lounges across the state. She is working with several interested licensees and regularly gets similar inquiries.
Clark will supply licensees with a mobile lounge and work with them on how to recruit customers and manage events.
While there are similar businesses in Colorado, the market is not saturated, she said.
The pricing for the mobile lounge varies based on the menu, the distance to the event and other factors.