Meet The 19-Year Old Haverford Entrepreneur Who Started The Local Phenomenon
by Melissa Jacobs
Lead image: 1969 Chevrolet Camaro from Ring Brothers.
By 9 am on May 7, Brett Mezrow knew that his Main Line Cars And Coffee event at Radnor Financial Center was a hit. By 9:15 am, Mezrow knew it was also a problem. More than 3,000 cars had arrived at the same time. The entrances on Lancaster Ave. and North Radnor Chester Road were clogged with vehicles – some classic, some modern, all of them expensive.
“There were vehicles that we don’t normally see anywhere else,” Mezrow said. “Some cars were one of 80 in the world, or one of 160. People drove to the event from West Virginia, Connecticut and Ohio. It was truly amazing.”
Main Line Cars And Coffee is an offshoot of Cars And Coffee, which started in California in 2007. Since then, Cars And Coffee has grown into an international phenomenon. Organizers host free gatherings, usually in outdoor parking lots or similar venues. People bring their specialty vehicles and show them to other car lovers, bonding over makes, models, tires, transmissions and everything else car junkies like to discuss.
Mezrow is one of them. He launched Main Line Cars And Coffee as a pandemic project in 2021 while a junior at The Shipley School. “There’s clearly a market for luxury vehicles on the Main Line,” Mezrow said. “I thought it’d be a great way to get together with other people who love cars.”
The first Main Line Cars And Coffee was held in the parking lot at SEPTA’s Bryn Mawr station near Mezrow’s home in Haverford. He marketed the event on social media and hoped some folks would come. “Five cars were already in the parking lot when I got there,” Mezrow said. “We ended up with about 150 cars at that first event. I was blown away.”
Over the next two years, Mezrow grew the events via digital marketing and word of mouth. He got sponsors to offset the operational costs and designated a charitable beneficiary for each event. National Multiple Sclerosis Society, ALS Association’s Greater Philadelphia Chapter, Help Hope Live, and Valley Forge Muster Roll are among the nonprofits that have received funds from Main Line Cars And Coffee.
By the beginning of 2023, 350 cars filled the Bryn Mawr lot at Main Line Cars And Coffee’s monthly events. Mezrow, who is now studying business at Northeastern University, decided to grow Main Line Cars And Coffee. “I wanted more parking spaces for more cars,” he said. “The diversity of the cars is one of our strengths, so the more space we have, the more interesting the events will be.”
Radnor Financial Center’s enormous parking lot and proximity to I-476 made it a great choice. Radnor Township wasn’t exactly thrilled with the idea and getting permission from the property owner was quite an undertaking. So when May’s inaugural event resulted in a massive traffic jam, Mezrow knew he’d have some explaining to do.
And he did. After multiple meetings with Radnor Twp. police, commissioners and other officials, Mezrow amended plans for subsequent Main Line Cars And Coffee events. Now, only 750 cars are permitted to show and their owners must register in advance. Arrival times are staggered to prevent congestion at the entrances. The changes went into effect in June and the event went off without a hitch.
It was such a success that Mezrow – with the help of his parents Abby and Steve – is holding two events July. The schedule is planned for August – November. “I’m confident that we have it figured out and that everyone will have fun,” Mezrow said. “These event are a lot of work, but I’m glad that we’ve created a way for great people to connect over great cars.”
7:30 am- 12 pm
Radnor Financial Center, Radnor, PA
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