The costs associated with setting up a brick-and-mortar retail location can be daunting for first-time entrepreneurs. And while ecommerce sites have lower overhead, some business owners might not want to miss out on meeting their customers face-to-face and watching them experience their products first hand.
Stacey Steffe, president of the American Mobile Retail Association, a trade organization for mobile retailers, estimates that there are hundreds across the U.S. Since she founded the AMRA in late 2011, the organization has grown from 5 members in California to 70 throughout the country.
The average cost to start a mobile retail truck is about $20,000, depending on the amount of rehabbing and DIY entrepreneurs are willing to do, says Steffe. This sounds pricey, but is often a fraction of the costs required to renovate a traditional retail space.
Mobile retail also offers flexibility in everything from product lines to connecting with customers. From designer shoes sold out of an Airstream trailer in Austin, Texas, to knitting supplies stocked in a converted Little Debbie snack truck in Southern California, we have gathered a sample of the many creative ways entrepreneurs are using the open road (and nearby parking lots) to sell their wares and services.