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Caffeinated Squirrel brews its way to the top in Best of Airdrie Readers' Choice Awards

With its unique name and ever-changing location, the family-operated business 'The Caffeinated Squirrel' brewed its way to the top in this year's best cup of coffee category. 
Annette Schulze and her husband, Robert, won a gold Best of Airdrie Readers' Choice Award for the quality coffee they serve up in their truck every day.

Innovation paved the way for Airdrie’s café-on-wheels concept truck to win gold in the Best of Airdrie Readers' Choice Awards.

With its unique name and ever-changing location, the family-operated business 'Caffeinated Squirrel' brewed its way to the top of the best cup of coffee category. 

“It’s quite a humbling experience. [We’re] very grateful that we’re able to provide such a service to the community and that we’re accepted as a mobile business,” said Annette Schulze, the owner and operator of Caffeinated Squirrel. 

Schulze believes the coffee truck won the gold award because of their coffee's quality and the rotating selection of baked goods that Caffeinated Squirrel sources from local bakers in Airdrie. In the past, Caffeinated Squirrel has partnered with La Table Haute Pastry, which won a silver Best of Airdrie Readers' Choice Award this year. 

“It’s nice to coordinate with other entrepreneurs in the service and food industry,” Schulze said. 

Schulze and her husband Richard tend the Caffeinated Squirrel together. Sometimes, the couple is joined by their two daughters. The tight quarters of the vehicle mean there is only room for four people to occupy the truck at one time, which Schulze said makes for a tight squeeze. 

“If we’re doing a big event, then we can fit four people in the truck. It’s a tight space but it’s important to have that speed – you don’t want anybody waiting,” she added. 

Catering to bigger events is something Schulze is hoping to do more of in the future, so she and her husband are ready to be accumulated to those tight spaces. Recently, Schulze said the Caffeinated Squirrel has been serving drinks at movie sets and other special events. 

Schulze, a former flight attendant with a love of coffee, was seeking a career change when Richard noticed a lack of café options in the rural neighbourhoods outside of Calgary, which sparked the idea of creating a mobile coffee shop. 

“I just like the idea of having a fancy truck, looking like a little bistro, to do venues and different events that we can kind of control our own time and where we can go,” Schulze said. 

Having a permanent storefront was never an idea the mobile business owners pursued, but as the coffee truck gets busier, the couple has contemplated a brick-and-mortar option. 

“We’re not sure if that’s the step we want to take yet because we’re so new,” Schulze explained. “I think the mobile business is fun because it’s always different and we’re always in different locations…I think that’s why I enjoy it so much, because it’s not the same every day.” 

However, operating a mobile business comes with its own challenges. Schulze said one of the toughest issues they face is determining which community and at what time the coffee truck should be present in Airdrie, while also ensuring the business is not being disruptive to the community. 

Much like operating the truck, finding the business a name was a family affair. The couple knew they wanted to incorporate “coffee” or “caffeine” and began tossing names around during a family drive. Ultimately, it was Richard who suggested Caffeinated Squirrel. 

“We just kept saying different animal names and then he thought of the Caffeinated Squirrel. He just came up with it and when he said it, I was just like ‘Oh yeah, that’s cool’,” Schulze said. 

The attention-grabbing name has caught on in the community, and Schulze said the mobile business now has regular customers who visit the truck daily, who make serving the Airdrie community a wonderful experience. 

“We couldn’t be successful without the community,” Schulze added. “Thank you so much to the Airdrie community for supporting us for the last couple of years. We are grateful to them and we always hope that we can continue to serve them.” 

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