ANN ARBOR, MI — When Hailey Polidori had the idea to open a coffee shop just a few years ago, she wasn’t drinking coffee.
Polidori, 26, was a student at Central Michigan University when she first realized she wanted to open her own business.
“There was a cafe there that always appealed to me very much,” Polidori said. “I didn’t really drink a ton of coffee back then, but just something about the atmosphere and the type of people that came in made me really want to be in a cafe.”
Now Polidori owns Hazel Coffee Co., a mobile cafe built out of a 1969 Red Dale trailer that she calls Hazel. She named her trailer after hazelnuts, since her mother always drinks hazelnut coffee.
Polidori, who currently lives in Ann Arbor, first pitched the concept while living in Austin, Texas with her now-fiancé.
“There were cafes in every block. They were all so different and (had) so much personality,” Polidori said. “And everywhere I went, I felt like the best people were always drawn to the shops. So I started working in the cafe, I knew I loved it and that’s what I wanted TO DO.
Although he wasn’t a coffee drinker when he joined the industry, Polidori quickly fell in love with the beverage-making process while working as a barista.
“I got to the point where I loved making coffee so much that if I didn’t have anyone to make it for, I was just going to work on latte art and drink it myself,” he said. she declared. “So as soon as I started working on it, I started liking it very quickly.”
Polidori returned to Michigan to be closer to his family and was cleared by Michigan to serve at Hazel in late August. Although she hopes to build a community base in Ann Arbor, she also appears at local farmers markets and other pop-up events.
Building space for the creative community is important to its concept, Polidori said.
“In one way or another, we all have different areas where we can shine and put our own spin on things,” Polidori said, adding that she loves connecting regular customers with each other. “…Maybe they’re doing the same thing or they can help each other out somehow.” Then being able to see them come back to your cafe and meet and build a real friendship is really cool.
Polidori uses house-made syrups — current flavors are pumpkin-centric — and serves a variety of espresso and cold brew. Its roast coffee comes from Gooseneck Coffee Co in Plymouth.
Although she plans to keep Hazel, Polidori hopes to eventually open a permanent location with a bay where the trailer can park. Although customers will still be served out of the trailer, they will eventually be able to take their drinks to more enclosed seats.
“There are so many different ways to be creative,” Polidori said. “I think having a space that encourages that and encourages you to kind of leverage that and share what you’re working on just injects more back into your community.”
Hazel Coffee Co. will be at the Canton Farmers Market, 500 N. Ridge Road, Canton, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday September 11 and Graye’s Greenhouse, 8820 N Lilley Rd, Plymouth, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday September 17.
Find Hazel Coffee Co. online or on social media.
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