published Thursday, May 29th, 2014

Small Biz: Lilly Bird brings coffee, smoothies to market

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    Denise Diggs and Houston Robertson work at Lilly Bird Coffee, their mobile coffee and catering cart.
    Photo by Photo: With Class LLC
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Name: Lilly Bird Coffee

Owners: Houston Robertson and Denise Diggs

Location: Mobile

Service: Catered coffee drinks and smoothies

How it got started: Robertson and Diggs have always been passionate about coffee, and recently decided to turn that passion into a business. So the couple launched Lilly Bird Coffee, a coffee and smoothie catering cart that uses high-quality organic ingredients.

The menu includes a variety of smoothies, espresso and coffee drinks. The pair also creates personalized, unique drinks for each event they cater, and -- after moving to Chattanooga from Detroit last month -- are adding sweet tea to the menu to appease their new Southern clientele.

Typically, Robertson and Diggs cater events for between 75 and 150 people, and charge per person for each event.

Initial investment: $5,000

Five-year goal: Eventually Robertson and Diggs hope to expand with additional carts in Nashville or Atlanta, using a sort-of micro-franchise model to ensure quality stays high. "It's been a dream of ours for a while," Robertson said.

Bet you didn't know: The business is named after the pair's two border collies, Lilly and Bird. Diggs and Robertson started the company hoping the odd hours would allow them to spend more time with their dogs, and it seemed natural to then name the company after their furry pets.

Contact: or 541-639-1124

Compiled by staff writer Shelly Bradbury, who can be reached at 423-757-6525 or

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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