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ROSE PARK — Longtime Rose Park resident Trina Perez thinks her neighborhood gets a bad rap.
"Oh absolutely," she said. "I don't know why, but there are a lot of misconceptions about the area. I've heard it referred to as 'the ghetto.'"
Perez says that couldn't be any further from the truth. She happily refers to it as "tight knit" and "the best."
Even though Rose Park is just a few minutes from downtown Salt Lake City, she says when it comes to getting the attention of businesses, it's hard not to see the cup as being half empty.
"We don't have a lot of options for a lot of things."
And for Perez, there's always been a gaping hole in the heart of Rose Park.
"Coffee was one thing that I personally needed and wanted," she laughed. Rather than just complain, she did something about it. Perez opened her own coffee shop.
"I just got sick of gas station coffee options," she said.
A former special ed teacher, Perez is finding her footing in the coffee business. And that footing is on wheels.
"This is an old FedEx truck that we converted into a coffee truck," she said.
Over the summer, Perez opened the Buzzed Coffee Truck, serving up a wide variety of coffee drinks. She says she was mainly self-taught, but also took some classes from the Specialty Coffee Association of America.
She lacked the money to open a traditional coffee shop, but Perez didn't let that get in the way of putting piping hot drinks in the hands of her customers. "What's that old saying?" she asked. "If you love what you do, you'll never work a day in your life."
That's because the Buzzed Coffee Truck isn't just about brewing coffee — it's about building a community.
"That's what I really like is building relationships with people," said Perez.
"Hearing about their day or hearing about their sick kid, and I've really developed a lot of friends doing this."
She keeps her truck close to home, parking it in Rose Park four days a week. That means her customers are also her neighbors.
"I'm really surprised at how many people come up to the window and thank us for being here," said Perez.
She still hopes to set up a formal "brick and mortar" coffee shop sometime in the future, which will, of course, be located in Rose Park.
So while Perez may be pleasing her own tastebuds, she's also hoping to make Rose Park a better place to be, one cup at a time.
"I didn't do this to be rich," she said. "I did it to be happy, and I'm really happy."