We had the good fortune of connecting with Kelli Crosby and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Kelli, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
As a physical therapist for 21 years, I was ready for a change in my career, my stress level and I desired a more flexible lifestyle, I started dreaming about what would be next for me. I have dreamed of having a ranch lifestyle for years, and in 2019 started a business plan to purchase land and start a wedding venue on the property where we would live and where I could create a new business. Many properties and 4 business plans later, that dream has not happened. But in writing those business plans I kept coming across these adorable mobile bars made from old horse trailers and vintage campers and trucks. I have wanted to renovate a vintage camper for camping for a while now, and thought this might be a really fun process and business, as long as I don’t have to do the bartending! So, I decided to fill a niche and offer Vintage Mobile Bar Rentals, as a party rental company!

What should our readers know about your business?
Sugar Moon Mobile Bar Company is a niche party rental company in Colorado Springs. We specialize in renting two Vintage Mobile Bars: a 1958 Mercury Canned-Ham Camper that is a fully functional bar with space for 2 bartenders; and a 1962 Cushman Truckster that is a “convertible” Tap Truck. The thing that sets us apart from other mobile bar companies, is that we offer party rentals and that’s it. In general, most mobile bar companies are owned by bartenders, so their services are included with rental of their mobile bar. As a retired physical therapist, bartending is not really in my wheelhouse. So I decided to approach the market from a party rental stand-point as opposed to a beverage catering and bartending angle. This decision has allowed our bars to go where other bars are not allowed. For instance, many venues have their own liquor license and employee their own bartenders, or they partner exclusively with beverage catering companies that do. The fact that I simply offer party rental of our mobile bars, but no catering services, means that I am welcome to deliver our bars to their property and work with their clients, as I am not in direct competition with them or their vendor partners. It has also opened the door to partnering with other party rental companies and catering companies – they don’t have what I have, and I don’t have what they have. Sugar Moon Mobile Bar Co. can play in the sandbox with anyone in the event industry! The other thing that sets us apart is the design of our Cushman Tap Truck’s tap box. My sister (a retired engineer) and I invented a tap box that is like a Transformer. It can change quickly and easily into many configurations which is a real selling point and makes our Tap Truck “Otho” very unique! As far as we know there is not another tap truck in the world that can do what ours does! We like to call the different configurations “outfits,” and so far we are up to 9 outfits!
The journey to where we are today, has been a wild ride! I’m pretty sure most people thought I was crazy to leave a stable and pandemic-proof career as a physical therapist and part-ownership in a successful private practice, to start a party rental company in the middle of a pandemic. But my body and my mental health told me it was time for a change, and surprisingly the timing WAS right. The sale of my shares of the private practice has funded the new business venture into party rentals, which has been a blessing not to require outside financing. The process of designing and building “Betty” the Camper Bar has exercised a creative muscle in my brain that I have really enjoyed! I like to say it’s been like being Chip AND Joanna Gaines at the same time…I got to design it AND build it. Working together with talented professionals, like Jess Jensen at Triple J Cushman & Restoration, and Gary and Sue Steinberger at Gary’s Collision and Alignment, has given me an appreciation for vintage vehicles and has dedicated me to giving these vintage structures new life and purpose. I have learned so much along the way, from new wood-working skills and using new power tools, to understanding how the rental and events industry works, and of course…learning about social media…it’s been refreshing and energizing!
I guess what I want people to know about me and my story is that life is short and there’s always time for change. I have loved being a physical therapist for 21 years and I know it was part of my calling in life. But having cancer at age 35 made me realize that I wanted to make room for less stress, more creativity, and more flexibility in my life. And it sure has been fun to use a different part of my mind and discover new gifts and talents within myself! As a brand, Sugar Moon Mobile Bar Company brings joy wherever we go! Our vintage bars are so adorable you can’t help but smile when you see them. I’m also loving the events industry as compared to the medical industry – we are allowed to determine our own worth and value based on market trends and competition, not based on insurance and Medicare reimbursement contracts. And networking with so many enthusiastic, positive, and creative entrepreneurs is making “work” seem like a fun hobby! Our brand is really about bringing smiles and vintage appeal to every event and that’s just fun…and a breath of fresh air for me as an entrepreneur!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This happens to us all the time! We love hosting our friends and family in Colorado Springs and they love coming to visit, especially in the summertime. Day 1: Garden of the Gods: first, we take them to the Mesa Road Overlook for pictures in the morning when the sun is illuminating GOG and Pike’s Peak. Then we drive them through the park, stopping at the visitor’s center and for hikes and pictures, especially at Siamese Twins Trail for the iconic shot of Pikes Peak through the rock formation. Then brunch at La Baguette French Bistro on Chestnut. Shopping in Downtown Colorado Springs at Terra Verde, The Savory Spice Shop, Eclectic Co, and Pikes Peak Lemonade Company. And back to our house for grilling-out on the deck with cocktails by the firepit.
Day 2: Homemade blueberry waffles for breakfast so we can have energy for Soaring Adventures Zip Lining at 7-falls! Walking tour of the Broadmoor, followed by a light lunch with drinks, sliders, and small bites at the Hotel Bar overlooking the lake. Shopping in Old Colorado City with dinner at Jake & Telly’s.
Day 3: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, is ALWAYS a favorite, with lunch in the zoo at Rocky Mountain Wild, Barbecue Company, on the cantilevered deck overlooking the city, is breathtaking. Shopping in Manitou with dinner at Crystal Park Cantina.
Day 4: Day trip out to Cheesman Canyon with a picnic lunch and lots of time for lounging in the sun and soaking our feet in the river, and fly fishing if they’re able! Dinner on the way back, creekside on the patio of course, at the Wines of Colorado.
Day 5: Tour and Tea at Glen Eyrie Castle, with plenty of time to walk the grounds and take pictures afterwards. Hiking at Ute Valley Park, near our house, with dinner at Salsa on the Rocks.
Day 6: Day trip out to Mount Princeton Hot Springs, for soaking and spa services. Ice Cream and burgers at K’s in Buena Vista.
Day 7: Hot air balloon ride with Adventures Out West first thing in the morning. Lunch and beer at Ivywild and Bristol afterward.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
It takes a village! There is not one single person or group that have influenced me, but a multitude of people and groups that have encouraged, supported, loved and mentored me along the way, through my career as a physical therapist and as an entrepreneur. I couldn’t have started multiple businesses and self-published a book without the love and support of my husband and my faith in God! As I’ve transitioned from a medical career to a niche party rental business, our entire family, many friends, neighbors, and several talented professionals have helped with design ideas, restoration/construction of the bars and even business development. Many brains are always better than one brain!

But if I think about who was willing to take a chance on me at the very beginning of this new journey into Vintage Mobile Bar Rentals, it would be Charley Van Amburg of Modern Moments Photography. Just after we launched our website in June of 2021, I was finally ready to start taking bookings and I began my marketing campaign reaching out to venues and planners to introduce myself and my new business. I was surfing social media and saw Charley’s post about a styled shoot at Highland Haven in Evergreen, Colorado. I reached out to see if they needed a mobile bar for their photoshoot and she enthusiastically said “YES!” It was my first styled shoot and I had no idea what to expect. It was such a cool experience! The photographs that were taken on that day and the vendor networking that took place in the span of just a few hours, allowed me to promote my business and increase my network in a powerful way. Her willingness to support me, a newbie in the field, and my brand-new infantile business, was truly an act of kindness and encouragement. The wonderful interaction I had with Modern Moments Photography and Highland Haven that day, gave me something invaluable in this industry…experience and credibility. I am forever grateful to her for taking a chance on me, “Betty the Camper Bar,” and Sugar Moon Mobile Bar Company!

Website: https://sugarmoonmobilebar.com/

Instagram: @sugarmoonmobilebarco

Linkedin: /kellicrosby

Facebook: @sugarmoonmobilebarco

Yelp: pending…

Other: Pinterest: sugarmoonmobilebarco

Image Credits
Clark Miller Photography

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