Get On Board with Mobile Businesses

Screen Shot 2014-04-11 at 11.50.32 AM Fasten your seat belts everyone, we are about to take a ride into the world of mobile businesses with David Aguirre. David has been an integral part of the mobile movement here in Tucson, as the organizer of the Food Truck Roundups and the Owner of Planet Rabbit, Tucson’s first mobile gallery. David created a network of diverse food trucks that he refers to as a “food truck family,” they are all local small business owners that support each other. Once that was established, he would book the caravan of trucks to serve food at large community events and promote the event to the masses. The first time the gang of trucks hit the streets in 2011 it caused a traffic jam, several trucks ran out of food and they knew they had a good thing going.
Crowd Enjoying the Food Truck Round-Up

Crowd Enjoying the Food Truck Round-Up

Ray Duke, the owner of Kadooks shares that “David provides a service that makes it possible to make money, otherwise I would have to seek events out myself or just park and hope that people will arrive, which is not profitable.” David’s services are beneficial for the food truck owners as well as the selected events the Food Truck Round up sell at. Besides providing cuisine, it became apparent that having the Round up at events, made them much more successful. With over 21,000 Facebook fans and participating 3 events a week, it’s no surprise that the trucks bring their own following. In this way, they work symbiotically with existing events, such as the Humane Society Furbaby Fiesta Adoption event which reported a higher adoption rate when the food trucks were present.
David Sign Twirling for the Food Truck Round Up

David Sign Twirling for the Food Truck Round Up

Unbeknownst to him, David was about to become the owner of his own mobile business. He was driving along Speedway Blvd when he spotted a former San Francisco Chronicle delivery truck parked on the side of the road and he got out to admire it. He wasn’t sure what he would use it for, but he bought it on the spot for $3,500.  David’s background is in the arts and so he began thinking of other ways to utilize the vehicle beyond the idea of the food truck. He had heard of a mobile gallery operating out of Santa Fe called Axle Contemporary and contacted founders Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman to get a sense of what their experience had been. He was invited to see it for himself and ventured to Santa Fe to visit Axle and after that trip, he had the inspiration to start his own mobile gallery and Planet Rabbit was born.
Planet Rabbit Mobile Gallery

Planet Rabbit Mobile Gallery

There are many advantages to the mobile business model, but there are a few unexpected disadvantages as well. The pros are pretty monumental beginning with ownership, meaning you can renovate to your heart’s content. Planet Rabbit got a full re-design including a two foot ceiling extension to allow for more head room, the addition of clerestory windows for natural light, stripping of the dark blue paint to expose the raw aluminum body and the construction of white gallery walls, new flooring and track lighting on the interior.
Restoration of Planet Rabbit, Mobile Gallery

Restoration by Neil Collins of Planet Rabbit Mobile Gallery

Mobile business owners operate rent free which means they can sell product more affordably if they choose to do so. There is no commitment of a lease and they can go wherever the action is, “We have the flexibility to bring our business where the people are, there is also the ability to always be tapping into different demographics depending on where you park it” shared David. The challenges of a mobile business include mechanical difficulties, parking availability and the safety of product during transport, “We set up the art exhibitions once we’ve arrived at our destination to make sure nothing gets damaged.” An important point to always keep in mind is the respect for local businesses, it isn’t a good idea park your mobile gallery in front of an established one, unless you are invited to do so. David is also helping another mobile business get started, for example, on March 5th Broken Arrow Mobile Boutique had it’s grand opening. Founders Nikki Welch, and Calley Davenport run their business out of the same truck as Planet Rabbit. David did not want to limit the potential of the truck and wanted to give them a chance to try their business out before investing in their own truck.
Interior of Broken Arrow Boutique

Interior of Broken Arrow Boutique

Interior of Broken Arrow Boutique

Interior of Broken Arrow Boutique

Broken Arrow Boutique

Broken Arrow Boutique

Broken Arrow sells vintage clothes, handcrafted jewelry and artwork under $30, they also have a small silkscreen press in the truck which allows customers to make their own printed shirts with hand carved designs made by Broken Arrow’s Co-Owner, Nikki Welch.
Hand Carved Designs by Nikki Welch

Hand Carved Designs by Nikki Welch

Both Broken Arrow and Planet Rabbit hope to encourage other mobile businesses to materialize in the community and beyond, “It’s very self-empowering and rewarding to be able to create your own business and have so much control over it, we want to show people that if this is what you want to do, it’s entirely possible.” David concluded.

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply