Iowa veteran quits corporate job and starts a coffee business


DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa native and veteran quit her corporate job to start her own coffee business on wheels.

Marie Miller is the owner of the Traveling Bean Co., a mobile coffee shop. She uses a 1978 Volkswagen Riviera Camper bus known as Betty. Miller says she named the bus after her husband’s grandmother.

“It’s got all the equipment necessary to make any coffee you can imagine. Hot and cold,” Miller said.

Before serving coffee, Miller served in the U.S. Army. She later became a businesswoman. After a time, Miller knew she needed a change.

“I was working anywhere between 65, 70 and 80 hours a week consistently for years on the road, a lot of living out of a suitcase. While I loved the work and I met really wonderful people … I needed to make a change for my health,” Miller said.

So in 2018, Miller developed a business plan. In February 2020, she left her job in corporate America, and in March 2021, she launched her business from her van. Miller’s goal is to offer customers a different taste.

“It’s different because one, they are hand-picked beans, they are straight from the farm beans. I also have my beans micro-roasted through a specialty, award-winning micro-roastery in Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s a female-owned business,” said Miller.

Miller’s husband, Jesse, supports his wife’s business venture.

“She’s been doing all her life to get out of her comfort zone. It’s pretty amazing,” said Jesse Miller.

Miller believes it is her mission to serve, support and empower people through coffee.

“What I’m trying to do is just deliver more love and that support and empowerment through coffee,” said Miller.

Miller says her signature drink is the combat chai. She created it as an honorary drink for veterans who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq.

You can track Miller’s travels over Facebook or Instagram.

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