First Place Coffee is a new, mobile, specialty coffee experience created by Devon McConville and Terrence Murtagh. We will be offering quality-sourced coffee that is crafted with care and respect.
The magic of coffee is ultimately about people. From the person growing, picking and processing the coffee to the individual importing and bringing the coffee to us; from the roaster to the barista and into the hands of our guests. We believe that coffee can be a catalyst for positive experiences. Whether it be through a friendly interaction, genuine conversation or a discussion about coffee extraction, our mission is to be part of a small victory along your way.
We look forward to helping you start your day in First Place!
The name "First Place" is a nod to Devon’s youth. Born and raised in New York, from an early age she became immersed in athletics, particularly running and soccer. She had a natural ability and a desire to win! Years were spent training, traveling and competing at the highest possible levels. She aspired to be an olympic-level athlete. However, following a move with her family from New York to Arizona while in high school, she lost momentum and allowed her olympic dreams to go unrealized.
Fast forward to Devon’s twenties, she began a career in the financial industry that lasted for nearly a decade. She climbed up the ladder but could not ignore the feelings of being unfulfilled. There was something greater that she wanted to accomplish, something more purposeful in her work and life.
The same mindset from when she was a young athlete crept back in - fear of change or failure and all the “what ifs” that can result in not achieving your true potential. She wondered what she was good at now? What was she passionate about? How would she find it and be able to balance finances and commitments? Devon spent a lot of time soul searching to discover the answers to these questions.
With the influence and support from Terrence, the answer was to step outside of her comfort zone and take action to change the direction of her life toward happiness— no matter the cost. She gained the confidence to quit her career in finance and decided to pursue her interest in coffee! Many of their friends were baristas over the years and coffee was a big part of their everyday lives.
Terrence and Devon enjoyed spending their free time in local cafes and exploring coffee culture in other cities. These experiences opened the door to the world of specialty coffee and there was so much more to learn! She was hooked and decided to go for it to see where this path would lead.
Thanks to an opportunity from Hayes McNeil and Royal Coffee Bar & Roasting Co. in Phoenix, Devon landed a job as a barista and developed a foundation in coffee brewing techniques and hospitality. Preparing a cup of coffee at its core is a seemingly simple task; but preparing a more perfect cup of coffee is something that takes persistence and practice.
Much of her free time was spent reading about processing methods, researching origins, and tinkering with all the variables that go into making the most tasty cup of coffee possible at home and for guests in the shop. This pursuit will always be a priority!
The other half of First Place Coffee is Terrence Murtagh. Aside from being a self-taught web designer with an entrepreneurial spirit, he is also behind the cycling apparel brand established in 2008 called Heavy Pedal. Cycling and coffee go hand in hand and have been a significant part of their lives for many years. The aspiration to combine both of these worlds in some way was about to take shape.
In 2015, Terrence’s friend from Cobra Arcade Bar in downtown Phoenix traded him a 1970 Chevy P-10 Stepvan for web design work. The truck was in rough condition, to say the least. It was not running and needed a lot of work. However, Terrence immediately saw the potential of converting the truck into a mobile cafe. Since that day, they have been saving and slowly working toward making this dream become a reality.
So far, they have completely restored the mechanics and converted the truck to an automatic transmission, raised the roof by a foot, purchased a La Marzocco GB5 espresso machine as well as other equipment, and have begun the interior build-out. This project has been completely self-funded with most of the labor done in their driveway with the help of great friends and family. It is almost there!
Although we have made it this far on our own, we do not have the capabilities to completely build out the truck in DIY fashion as originally planned. Due to the small size of the vehicle and limited space to work with, all of the interior appliances and equipment need to be fabricated and ultimately approved by city regulation standards.
As a result, we hired a food truck company to finish the interior buildout. The work they will do includes: aluminum ceilings and walls, insulation, diamond plate floors, water heater, water pump, water filtration system, hand washing sink, fresh water tank, grey water tank, plumbing, ice bin, refrigerator, stainless steel counters, electrical, in-roof air conditioning, lighting, service window, pastry window, generator housing and door modifications.
The funds that were originally allocated to purchase all remaining operational equipment, generators, and complete the truck's exterior were instead used to pay the food truck company for the interior build out.
While we would love to start with all top of the line coffee equipment, we realize that is not a practical option but something that we will work towards in the future. The items that we need to obtain to get started at this point are: a batch brewer, batch grinder, commercial cold brew setup, and two super quiet Honda generators to power all of the equipment. The final step to fully completing the truck will be the exterior work. This process will consist of body work, primer and a vehicle wrap.
First Place Coffee is the culmination of each of our experiences thus far. Our mission is to leave people feeling taken care of and happier than when we found them. This drives everything that we will do from the way we treat our guests, to our coffee partners and ultimately to the care that goes into preparing your favorite beverages.
We love people and service. We love coffee and cycling. We want to continue to be a part of elevating these communities in our own way and to grow along with Phoenix. With this final push, our goal remains to be on the road to serve you in Fall 2017.
Let us bring our specialty cafe experience directly to you! We envision our truck parked outside of your business for your morning or afternoon coffee, tea, pastry or snack; or at your local market, wedding, cycling race or any special event. We look forward to making plans with you to be a part of your day!
As we have learned over the past 2 years, getting a new business off the ground as well as a Kickstarter campaign is no simple task. We did not, and could not, have done this alone without standing on the shoulders of giants. Some of these giants are as follows:
Ari Bracamonte - For The Step Van
Salih Kucukaga - First Place Coffee Branding
Corbin / Tim / Victor / Michael / Adam - Raising The Roof
Victor Vasquez - Design / Illustration / Product Collaboration
Pete Burr - Kickstarter Video Production (twice)
Jesse Schlaefer - Project Coordination
Heavy Pedal - Cycling Kit Collaboration
Risks and challenges
Our team so far is just the two of us. Self-funding the entire project has been a gradual process over the last two years and we are all-in! The faster that we can recover the remainder of funds needed to fully outfit the truck, the faster we will be up and running and able to connect with our communities.
Additionally, the final step is to be approved by the city of Phoenix before we will be permitted to operate. We do not foresee any issues with either process, but simply a matter of time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)