Hope Green calls grilled cheese “hand held comfort food.” She started Emojis Grilled Cheese, a food truck serving a variety of crafted grilled cheese sandwiches, after life threw her a series of difficult challenges. When the market crashed in 2008, Green lost the both the real estate business she had owned for 16 years and her own home. She moved from Seattle to Austin, where her daughter Joi was diagnosed with scoliosis -- curvature of the spine so severe she needed an expensive surgery. Green could not maintain a full-time job while managing her daughter’s health problems, so her entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and she started a food truck.
Emojis offers classic grilled cheese along with a number of gourmet varieties, including mozzarella, basil and tomato; pepperjack and bacon; grilled chicken and pesto, and others, all served on delicious (and nearly gluten free) sourdough bread. Sandwiches are served with tricolor chips.
Green sought SCORE mentoring as she began to consider hiring employees to help with her unexpected and explosive business growth. She gained insight as well as business contacts from SCORE workshops and has found a sounding board in her mentor.
She says, “They have so many classes, networking opportunities, and SCORE sets itself apart by not being like a textbook. They are actual people who have walked the walk. They can refer you to people who have been through exactly what you’re going through. If I’m looking to improve how I order bread for example, I can be referred to someone who has worked on a food supply chain.”
Green didn’t realize just how quickly her sandwich business would take off “We thought it would be a temporary weekend thing,” she says, “but between parties, property managers, and breweries calling us, business just exploded.”
The business has been featured on local radio and TV stations, was included on a top ten list of local food trucks by both the Austin Monthly and has twice ranked in the top ten for Texas Trucklandia’s $10,000 food truck taste-off. They also won the People’s Choice award at the German BeerFest.
Green also started Joi's Cookbook Project to raise money for her daughter’s spinal surgery. Proceeds above what they need for the surgery will be donated to Shriner’s Hospital in Houston.