Food and Retail Trucks Popping Up All Over Memphis

(Memphis) Store owners are ditching the brick and mortar, instead firing up their engines for a new fad in retail.

Food trucks were first, then the shops followed suit, and so far it’s been a smooth ride.

Ann Smithwick used to have a production studio on Main Street, but now she’s moved her business into the trailer she tow’s behind her car, “It’s going to be fun to take us outside. That’s the whole concept of MEM Mobile. It will take you outside of your hula hoop and discover a whole lot more.”

Smithwick and her business partner are both moms who work part-time taking recycled jeans and refitting them with a fashionable flare.

They say their store on wheels gives them the chance to come to the customer.

“For us we are excited about just remaining mobile. Because it offers flexibility,” said Smithwick.

Shoppers told us it’s a nice change of scenery for their lunch break.

Shopping out of the back of a truck however sometimes comes with the connotation the products are stolen or knock offs.

“I think it still has that connotation in a lot of respects. I think it’s easy now to tell which ones are not legit,” said Christine Schaeffer.

Mayor AC Wharton refers to the food and retail truck businesses as Mem Mobile.

The city offers grants and loans to help these businesses get off the ground and into a truck, to help find a following here in Memphis.

Food truck operators say they welcome the company.

In a way, the two industries are feeding off of each other.

Mark Hamilton owns Mark’s Cafe and Food Truck, “They can set up their retail events. We can set up our food service events. Bring along some music and basically we’ve got a giant street party going on.”

Currently there is no permitting process for these trucks.

They just need to call property owners to get permission to set up shop.

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