Reporting Tracy Perlman
STILLWATER, Minn. (WCCO) — Food trucks have been big business in the Twin Cities for two years now, but a new type of business is rolling onto a street near you: Fashion trucks.
Already big along the coasts, fashion trucks are just making their way into Minnesota.
Two years ago, David and Teresa Grim closed their clothing and accessory store called “Doozie Chic Boutique” in downtown Stillwater.
That’s when David says his wife saw an article in a magazine about retail trucks in cities like Los Angeles and Boston.
“We were still looking for an opportunity to get back into retail. When we saw this idea, we knew that was it and so we went for it,” said David.
They found an old Star Tribune delivery truck for sale on Craigslist. After going to a body shop for a fresh coat of paint, David customized the interior to include shelves, rods and more.
“We sell women’s clothing, dresses, purses, jewelry scarfs and other accessories. We do have a fitting room inside the truck to try on a dress or top. You can go in, shut the curtain and try it on in there.”
Within three months of learning about the trucks, The Fashion Mobile was on the road.
David said customers have had nothing but good things to say. Right now, the bright turquoise truck can be seen at Marketfest in White Bear Lake, Summer Tuesdays in Stillwater and private at-home parties, where they park the truck on your driveway so your friends can shop.
Their merchandise sells from $5 to $90. Most of the items come in standard small, medium or large sizes. The Grims don’t buy many multiples, that way they can constantly buy new items for returning customers.
“Ultimately, our goal is to go where the food trucks are setting up,” said David.
As it stands now, that won’t happen in cities like Minneapolis and St. Paul. The permits for festivals will allow for clothing sales out of a truck, but without those big events, the city ordinances would need to change.
“For instance, in St. Paul, I believe you can sell food, and have mobile types of salons, but there’s nothing that allows someone to sell merchandise,” said David.
The Grims say the new business model makes their dream a reality and they expect to see more trucks rolling into town.
“With taxes, insurance and utilities, we were probably paying over $3,000, now monthly expenses are maybe $350. Our overhead is only a cell phone, gas and insurance. And those are expenses that occur month-to-month,” said David.
They paid $2,600 for the truck, that’s less than what they paid for a month’s rent at their old store.
“This is a very viable option that you can get started in three months for a quarter of the costs of what it would cost you to open a brick and mortar space,” added David.
There is one other fashion truck we know of in the Twin Cities, Uniquely Attainable, and it’s in a school bus. There, you’ll find custom made home decor.
Some record stores also started mobile stores to cut down on overhead costs.