The former pilot swapping high life for coffee shop life
A former British Airways pilot has converted an old fire truck into his dream coffee shop almost a year after losing his job due to coronavirus redundancies. Richard Campbell-White, 38, is expecting his second baby with his wife who “thought he was mad” after he announced that he was chasing his dreams to open up his business following his passion for coffee and food with his new venture ‘Fire Truck Espresso’. Richard, who lives in Cirencester, had formerly flown for British Airways for 13 years, and having had his private pilot licence for over 20 years but with all flights grounded due to the pandemic he said “COVID scuppered that”.
: Gloucester baby with rare condition receives ‘most expensive drug in the world’ But instead of wallowing, Richard, who has one three-year-old and another baby due in August, decided “now was as good a time as any” to start doing what he’d always wanted to do. This is where his 1964 Citroen HY Van Coffee Truck came into play.
He will have had the truck in action in Cheltenham for exactly a month on Thursday, July 8, and has even been visited by some of Gloucestershire County Cricket’s finest. Get today’s top stories and entertainment for free straight into your inbox Explaining his inspiration Richard said: “I’m really passionate about food, coffee and people.
It’s something I’ve always wanted to do – I wanted to open a deli but I didn’t want to risk it, with bricks and mortar for a building I wouldn’t own. “But a couple of friends opened a truck in Surrey, and I lost my job last August as a pilot at BA, COVID scuppered that, but it was a good opportunity to get this off the ground.” “It seemed like a good idea at the time,” he joked.
Cirencester based Richard is proud of his locally sourced produce from all around Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds
All of Richard’s produce and coffee is locally sourced from around Gloucestershire and the Cotswolds.
His Fire and Flow coffee is made just outside Cirencester, he has original Italian ‘cantucci (biscotto) from a baker in Bishops Cleeve and even has cured meats for sale from Cotswold farms, which is also where he gets his ham and cheese for his croissants and toasties. The coffee connoisseur added that he offers alternative milks for no extra charge, saying he “didn’t understand” why someone should have to pay extra for different milks if they had an allergy, intolerance or were vegan. He also offers gluten free options and hopes to expand his plant based offerings over the coming months.
Talking about the truck, Richard, who is fully accredited with the National Catering Association, said that the conversion took a couple of months and that it was “a completely original van that had a life somewhere in France with the French fire brigade”.
Richard prides himself on being very allergy conscious and accessible to those with particular dietary requirements, he is also accredited with the National Catering Association
Pictures of Richard’s truck conversion can be seen in the link below: His quirky truck is just the first step for Richard, who says that with his family’s support he hopes to expand into different novelty vehicles to cater for different events such as weddings or festivals. He said: “Because of my background in aviation I was thinking a 1960 aircraft servicing van.
“My wife thinks I’m mad, I’m always coming up with all these ideas and I said “no I’m going to do this” then I was like “no… I’m really going to do it” and she said “okay, let’s do that then” and she’s really supportive, and does most of the business side. “Perfect timing with a baby on the way!” He laughed.
The fire truck has two pitches in Cheltenham, one in Montpellier and the other near Cheltenham General Hospital – he also offers a 15 per cent discount to NHS staff.
You can find the Fire Truck Espresso in Montpellier Villas, opposite The Suffolk Arms on Tuesday, Wednesday and Sunday as well as St Luke’s Church on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
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