Jeff Tyler is a regular guy in the suburbs who found himself out of work when the Great Recession hit his construction business hard in 2008. After a year and a half of unemployment wondering what to do he took a chance selling hotdogs from a roadside cart.
He now has three carts and is part of a prospering community of self employed vendors who are working to help others set up small businesses while conforming to county codes. I filmed this interview in the parking lot of a local office complex where the usual Thursday lunch crowd had gathered.
Mobile vendors are light, responsive, and adaptable to changes in the market and weather. They also take advantage of social media to let their customers know where they’ll be and attract new business. These local merchants might not have been able to find traditional employment in a rough economy, and many may not have had the resources to open brick and mortar shops.
Vending trucks let people start small and gradually expand their businesses over time with low up front costs and relatively low risk. They also transform an underused parking lot into a vibrant lunch spot.