A car is more than just a form of travel; it’s an investment where significant life experiences occur and lifetime memories are made. Kevin and Jillian VanValkenburgh, inspired by West Coast car culture, created Rochester Cars and Coffee, a monthly social event to bring people and generations together.
For the past 13 years, Rochester Cars and Coffee invites the public to come together for a family-friendly event to see everyone’s vehicles, check out the Little Speed Shop’s race facility, and simply socialize with other enthusiasts. There’s coffee and a food truck each Saturday once a month from 8-10am. Any given month may bring out anything from a caravan of kids, strollers, and dogs on leashes to Lamborghinis, Ferraris, Porsches, Fiats, Nissans, Hondas, and Low Riders. All makes and models are welcome, and people are welcome to come even without a vehicle to showcase.
This event offers a place for people to enjoy each other’s cars and respect what everyone has built, whether it’s a hot rod or the first car they worked hard to buy. People bond with their cars as they restore and maintain vehicles, and it brings them joy to show off the hard work and designs they crafted. Cars & Coffee allows them the venue to do so.
This event/group isn’t just another car show. Car owners share stories about their lives through memories made with their cars. People tell stories of personal, happy memories, special occasions, and special people they remember through their vehicles. When grandparents take grandkids out for ice cream in a vintage car, the children will treasure the memory. When that vehicle is then passed down through generations, smells and emotions emit treasured sentimental value.
Kevin VanValkenburgh became a car enthusiast working on cars in his parents’ garage. Throughout his life, Kevin has owned almost every generation of BMW, and in the past few years he got into the Porsche market. His biggest passion is spending time with his wife, Jillian, and their children, Chase and Charlotte.
Jillian, a social worker by training, says she wasn’t really a car girl until she met Kevin and started running their auto repair shop. Her appreciation grew for the beauty and intricacies of a fine automobile. Jillian’s “Mommy Mobile” is a modified BMW or Porsche. With Chase and Charlotte along for the ride, spending time with her family is her number one passion (especially when they get to go out on their boat named Mr. Potato Head!).
VanValkenburgh’s European auto repair shop, The Little Speed Shop, keeps Rochester Cars and Coffee group going. Since 2017, The Little Speed Shop teams with Watkins Glen International to provide a full range of services to keep drivers on track during events. They mount and balance tires, replace brakes, and provide helmets, gloves, and other apparel and equipment race car drivers need.
Rochester Cars and Coffee connects with Watkins Glen International to help promote interest in motor sports within the next generation. Events provide an opportunity to drive at a world-famous racetrack in upstate New York, such as at the Watkins Glens Historic Sportscar Racing event, NASA High Performance Driving Education (HPDE), and Trackmasters.
The VanValkenburghs give back to the community through proceeds from merchandise sales and donations. Helping businesses, the community, and charities is the heart and soul of Kevin and Jillian. They took part in the Dream Factory Scavenger Hunt and have raised money for Golisano Children’s Center.
Check out upcoming Rochester and Watkins Glen events on their website: helittlespeedshop.com/event. Cruise on in to catch a Coffee and Cars event at 500 Lee Road, Building D, Rochester, NY.