Today we’d like to introduce you to Mauricio Jemal.
Hi Mauricio, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
We started at the beginning of the pandemic; I purchased the truck, a 1962 Chevy step van, from a friend in Austin two years before and remodeled the interior to update the look. The tuck is made from World War II airplane aluminum. It started as a Tasty Freeze Ice Cream truck in the 60’s. I am a producer for TV commercials, and initially, I was planning on using it to provide coffee and snacks for film and TV productions. When the pandemic hit, there was no production work, and people were scared to go to restaurants, but they weren’t scared to go to food trucks, so I decided to open Moe Jo’s as a business and not just a service for film production. I fell in love with the truck when I first used it as a prop in a MotoGP campaign we shot in Austin, and I knew I had to make it mine. I love everything vintage, and this truck was no exception. The name would be The Auteur, which means director or author in French, so the name was appropriate for the initial idea. However, I couldn’t even pronounce it, so I knew customers would struggle, so we rebranded the truck and changed the name to Moe Jo’s; I’m Moe, and everyone already knows who Jo is.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
As I stated above, we started at the beginning of the pandemic, so the seas were already rough; I was faced with the question: What will I do now? I have no production work. There was so much uncertainty, and people were spending money on advertising; one of the few functioning businesses was food trucks, so I went for it. It was either that or make no money; I had been out of the food service industry for years, and I had to learn everything on YouTube and a few angels who knew what they were doing and slowly and painfully helped me become a Barista. We are going on three years, and although the seas have calmed, it’s not always easy; we are more of a destination and don’t have too much foot traffic even though we are practically across the street from the University of Incarnate Word, which is my Alma Matter.
Thanks for sharing that. So, you could tell us a bit more about your work.
I am a film and commercial producer by trade, and I have been doing that for the last 25 years. I still love it, and I wake up every morning thankful and happy. I learned long ago that if you work at what you love, it’s not work. It’s fun, and that applies to my film business, Shooters Films, and coffee business. What sets me apart is my work ethic and always wanting to give more than expected. There are no shortcuts in life. You get out of it what you put into it. Some of the most memorable campaigns that I have produced have been Public Service Announcements (PSAs) that help make a difference, from Pet adoptions, a campaign we did for Dallas Pets Alive to Cyber Bullying and, most recently, pregnancy-related complications for the CDC that has helped save many lives. Giving back to the community and the coffee business has been a blessing, and it has helped me go through some difficult years caffeinated and with a smile while simultaneously providing a much-necessary service.
Any advice for finding a mentor or networking in general?
Nobody is self-made, and we all got some help along the way; early on, one of my aunts believed in me and helped me become who I am today. I love mentoring young people and helping guide them, and I do so always; it is rewarding and helps keep me grounded.
- Instagram: @moe_jos
- TikTok: @moe_jos
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