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Forget the Rent; Businesses Opt to Work on Wheels

High rents and business-savvy creativity are pushing more retailers to take their shops on the road.

On any given corner across Los Angeles, you can find a flower truck lovingly called Lola or a 2006 silver Airstream bought by Julian Payne that houses the Original Mobile Barbershop Co.

There's a pink truck adorned with the name Le Fashion Truck in black script.

"We want to be in Venice one day and in Santa Monica one day and the Valley the next," said Stacey Steffe and Jeanine Romo, Le Fashion Truck owners.

Don Rich is a creative director at an advertising agency, but in his Skullastic bus, he is the "Headmaster." Rich creates unique, homemade school supplies and takes to the road with a mission.

"Ten percent at least of everything that we make every day goes back to schools,” Rich said. “One month we give it to a school in need. The next month we give it to a school that is doing something innovative.


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As a kid

I remember the Fuller Brush Man, and the mobile knife sharpener man. The big new thing in my city are 'gourmet' roach coaches.

When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign: that the dunces are all in confederacy against him. ~J. Swift

Prepping for small business

I'm involved in two businesses with a mobile model. Couple of things to note are you will probably need licensing and permitting in every town and county you operate in and make sure your insurance covers you anywhere you go. This offsets some of the savings you derive in rent on a commercial space.

The main advantage here is being able to retreat. If laws, landlord or numerous other busy bodies make it impossible to do business in one town, fall back to the others. Hurricane coming? Head to high ground. Consider what this does for bugging out. You take the capability to do trade and produce income with you.

Looks like small business is gonna take a hit with taxes, heaven's knows what most of us do with this health insurance debacle and the march of regulation continues unabated. But there's still a window between business being tough and business being OUTRIGHT IMPOSSIBLE.

Be brave, be brave, the Myan pilot needs no aeroplane.

Who here remembers the Bookmobiles?

They were mobile libraries to bring books and reading to inner cities without a brick and mortar library. Back in the day there were many business operated from trucks, local produce, milk, eggs, bread, they are mostly gone now due to local regulations.
I have fond memories of the watermelon man, in late summer he would drive up and down the city streets with his tractor pulling a huge trailer filled with watermelons. The city regulations made that illegal, probably to support local retailers.

I remember.

I also remember that my relatives, who were farmers in a remote rural area in the Midwest, depended upon a grocery truck which came out once every other week with supplies such as aluminum foil, sugar, toilet paper and other things which they couldn't produce for themselves. The arrival of "The Huckster", as he was affectionately called, was always anxiously anticipated, and caused excitement in the household.

As a kid, we were just as excited about the "Popsicle Man" whose frozen treats were secured in a small refrigerated container on the front of his bicycle. Ha! I'm really "dating" myself there. Today we do still have an ice cream truck which circles the neighborhood playing its happy melody during the summer months.

An increase in mobile businesses may actually be a very nice thing.