C1 – The Original Caboose
2310 Brooks Street is the “flagship” location – the original Caboose known as “C-1” to employees because it was the first.
Opened in 1994 when South and Brooks were called “Malfunction Junction”. C1 was opened before espresso carts were a culture, it was only the second coffee hut in Missoula!
3075 North Reserve St was the second Loose Caboose and is therefore known as “C-2” to Caboose insiders. When C2 was courageously plunked down in the parking lot in October 1998, Reserve Street had only just become a four lane road.
6149 Mullan Road location is the hidden gem of West Missoula. Being outside the major commercial thoroughfares, this is more of a neighborhood store. Opened in October, 2003, this location is known as “C-3.” It’s claim to fame is being featured in an article in the The Washington Post.
2420 West Broadway location is known as “C-4” –is the fourth and newest location. Owner, Malcolm Lowe, says “this is our best facility because it is a real building. I had to sacrifice some of the train styling, but it is simply better engineered. After three Cabooses I finally learned a thing or two”.
Clark Fork Market
The Loose Caboose has a mobile unit that is used primarily at The Clark Fork Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings. This market, located under the Higgins Street Bridge, is a vibrant hub of the Missoula groove during the summer and fall months. It can get extremely busy, but with a staff of 5, the production line on the little trailer kicks out a buzz.
The trailer is curiously known as “The Sol Caboose” or “Soley.”But its history explains the name. Originally this little engine that could was solar powered with two panels and four batteries and an inverter. As demand for cups per hour increased, propane tanks, burners, cables and switches were added, until it resembled the car in Back to the Future, with catastrophic potential.