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Mpls. Food Truck Phenomenon Helps Other Local Businesses

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(credit: CBS) Rachel Slavik
Rachel Slavik joined the WCCO team in October of 2010 and is thrill...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This time of year, you can hardly walk along a downtown Minneapolis street without running into a food truck.

When the city passed an ordinance easing restrictions on these mobile restaurants the food truck phenomenon took off.

But the restaurants themselves aren’t the only ones seeing a boost.

Where most people see an old school bus, Zack Rethlake and Jessi Knudson see potential.

Rethlake and Knudson are planning to take their business, Fro-Yo Soul, to the streets, and over the next several weeks the shell of metal and wheels will be transformed into its headquarters.

“I think we just, we wanted to be mobile, kind of change our scenery every day, go to where people want our products,” Knudson said.

But they can’t do it alone.

To build their food truck, Rethlake and Knudson turned to Mark Palm of Chameleon Concessions.

Palms’s company has been a big part of the food truck boom.

Over the past three years, he’s seen a 40 percent increase in business and there’s always new work.

“We’re busy every single day from building new trucks to revamping trucks that come from other states,” Palm said.

Every order starts the same.

Palm is given a vehicle to work with and must overcome obstacles of each to put in the necessary kitchen supplies.

“The trucks all have different shapes, different sizes, different heights, different lengths. So, it’s a challenge to make all the items fit inside,” Palm said.

But the outside is where the trucks get their character.

For a restaurant on wheels, imagination attracts attention and no request is turned down, even unique modes of transportation

Rethlake and Knudson’s bus is a first for Palm, and the newest addition to a growing movement in dining out.

“Fro-Yo Soul” is expected to hit the streets mid-summer.

Meanwhile, the food truck concept has also gone beyond restaurants.

Palm is also making trucks for clothing and barber shops.

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