Zach DeLong: Psychology B.A. to circus performer to coffee truck owner
Many Americans claim that they are coffee addicts, but none love it quite as much as Zach DeLong.
Many Americans claim that they are coffee addicts, but none love it quite as much as Zach DeLong. He loves it so much that he wakes up at 5:00 a.m. to spend all day making and selling it through his craft coffee truck, Scission Espresso.
But running a coffee truck was not always his goal in life — the 29-year-old craft espresso maker from Marriottsville, Maryland studied psychology in his undergraduate years at Salisbury University. After graduating, DeLong decided not to further his education and instead moved in with family in Oregon to work at a coffee shop.
As a successful business owner, DeLong thinks that the route he took with his education was not the best decision. If he could do it over, he might not have gone to college at all.
“College was not a great fit for me,” DeLong said. “I always did well in school, and I had a decent scholarship that covered most of my tuition. So, I felt like I had to go. Once I was there, it definitely seemed like it was probably not the thing for me.”
While in Oregon, DeLong was given the opportunity to join the Philly Fringe Festival circus, which was based out of Philadelphia. Under the direction of Greg Kennedy from Cirque du Soleil, DeLong was part of a group of five that performed a show called “Theorem.” In the show, they juggled modern objects. Juggling was always a hobby of DeLong’s, but not something he saw himself doing long-term.
“I loved it, but I missed working in the food industry because I actually really enjoyed that,” DeLong said. “It was always in the back of my mind, and I knew I would go back to it eventually.”
Looking for a way to continue working with coffee, DeLong started searching Craigslist for something to start a business with. He struck gold with an old ice cream truck, which was cheap and easy to convert into a coffee truck. Thus, Scission Espresso was born.
Many might spend a long time deciding on the name of their company, but it was not hard for DeLong to find the right fit. He liked the name “Scission” because it made his business different from any other coffee shop.
Like many new businesses, the first year was an experimental period for DeLong. The original plan was to park in an office area, but it was not easy to get sales from people passing by. The biggest challenge was finding the right audience, which he found at Wilmington Brew Works. The truck is now parked there on weekends, but he also travels to neighborhoods during the week to sell coffee in the mornings.
Scission Coffee had a very unique success story that rose from the pandemic.
“It actually more than doubled my business,” DeLong explained.
After the success of his first neighborhood run, the Scission Espresso Instagram page drew a lot of attention. The truck is always booked by customers for events two or three months ahead of time. Those looking to schedule for the truck to come to their neighborhood can contact DeLong by email or through the Scission Espresso Instagram.
Although he misses some of the regulars that came when he parked at office buildings, he said the success that comes from his current setup at Wilmington Brew Works and in the neighborhoods is even better.
Scission Coffee sets itself apart from other coffee businesses by making homemade pastries. While biscuits are their most popular item, a more recent creation, the miso pecan shortbread bar, is the new staple. When a new customer comes in, this is what he recommends for them to try.
All of DeLong’s experience with baking has come from trial and error, and he spends a lot of time experimenting with different flavors to make unique foods that one would not find anywhere else.
The company has been running for almost four years. DeLong said that his advice for anyone starting a new business is that they need to know what they’re going to do and be flexible about it but not to bend over backwards for others.
“Sometimes people come up and ask if I have hot dogs,” DeLong said. “It doesn’t even matter what the truck says on the side or what you have on the menu. So, I’ve had people ask if I have hot dogs and burgers. If people are coming up and asking for hot dogs, you shouldn’t just serve hot dogs. Serve coffee.”
Scission Espresso is parked outside of Wilmington Brew Works every Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. If interested, you can find them on FaceBook @scissionespresso and on Instagram @scission.espresso.