Food trucks join forces, work with area students
Over 20 local food truck vendors are expected to join a collective to make doing business easier, and to foster young entrepreneurs.
Over 20 food carts have committed to joining RVA Street Foodies with the hopes of fostering each individual business through collective strength, according to an organizer of the new group.
“The goal was…to change the atmosphere as to how we related to each other,” said Malcolm Andress, owner of the Soul-Ice food truck and coordinator of the group that formed last year with the help of GrowRVA.1 “What we realized is that we were better in numbers.”
Andress said that RVA Street Foodies is currently accepting and processing its member applications. When applications are finalized, the names of participating food carts will be announced, likely by spring.
While members have yet to be announced, Andress did identify several food cart owners that comprise RVA Street Foodies’ “strategic planning team,” which he described as the “brains” and “think tank” of the organization:
- Malcolm Andress • Soul Ice
- Paul Cassimus • King of Pops
- Michael Ng • Thai Corner
- Victoria DeRoche • Pizza Tonight
- Sam Fossum • Magna Carta
- Stacie Metzger • Curbside Creations
- Richard Ryder • Flynn’s Foods
Andress said that each food truck is essentially the same in that each must handle its food and business responsibilities. Group purchasing is one benefit of the collective he touted.
Each food cart can save money by ordering bulk food and supply items jointly, then distributing those items among themselves. He also said that sharing accounting methods, as well as marketing burdens, also made the collective viable.
“We’re a better service as a group to Richmond than we are as an independent,” Andress said.
In addition, RVA Street Foodies has begun a partnership with the Richmond Technical Center to give students hands-on experience with local entrepreneurs. Andress, who earned a Masters in Theology from Virginia Union University, wrote his thesis on youth entrepreneurship, and it’s a subject that’s stuck with him since graduating. As a food truck owner, he observed that mobile vending didn’t cater to many people “30 and below.” He asked himself: “How can we change this and create jobs for our youth?”
This summer, RVA Street Foodies will offer internships with food truck vendors. Later in the year, it will supplement Richmond Technical Center coursework by providing students the chance to work with local food truck entrepreneurs.
“Students are getting to learn a career that they can get into,” Andress said.
- Food truck vendors meet to establish consensus; RVANews
- Dueling food truck courts announce new locations; RVANews
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- GrowRVA will partner with RVA Street Foodies, but the two are separate entities. ↩
photo by Gamma Man
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