First the food truck revolution brought us restaurants on wheels, mixing up your own neighborhood's restaurant offerings. Now, the next wave is shopping on wheels.
Here are ten repurposed food trucks rolling on the streets of L.A., purveying anything but food.
10. The Flower Truck
In a redone 1970s ice cream truck dubbed “Lola,” Jenifer Kaplan has found the sweet spot that's lower rent than a bricks-and-mortar florist shop but higher class that standing by the side of a freeway offramp. Kaplan isn't a trained floral designer, so it's all hand bouquets, but they do make a charming impromptu gift that just feels more romantic than buying your flowers at Vons.
9. The Original Mobile Barbershop
Inside this vintage Airstream trailer, you can get a haircut or even an old-fashioned straight razor shave from master barber “J. Vegas” Payne. Just make sure the trailer isn't in motion. It makes stops in Santa Monica and Malibu, and has crossed the country three times, but can often be found by the Trader Joe's on Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks.
8. Video Games 2U
Like a long, skinny video arcade on wheels, the VideoGames2U bus mostly caters to Bar Mitzvahs and parties instead of the quarter-per-play market. It's a plush bus outfitted with Wii and PlayStation games and black curtains that block out the sun from the windshield. Unfortunately, you can't get them to take you to Vegas while you veg out in front of Halo — it's strictly park and play, and it costs $400 for two hours. Blammo.
Don Rich, the son of two schoolteachers, created this business, from which he donates 10 percent of all proceeds back to education. The full-time advertising art director sells custom designed school supplies from his fertile imagination — best picks include the “Cree-Pee” folder and “Planner of the Apes.”
6. Le Fashion Truck
A grandma of retail trucks at three years old, Le Fashion Truck features a mix of fashions as well as handcrafted jewelry made by co-owner Jeanine Romo. Everything is at a discount since they don't have to pay rent.
5. Library Store On Wheels
If you don't want to trek all the way to the Los Angeles Public Library Foundation's store, but you do want to support the Library by buying a Very Hungry Caterpillar t-shirt or a mug that says “Reading Is Sexy,” the Library Store On Wheels has come to save you. Like the R.I.F. truck of yore, but with things you have to pay for instead of just borrowing, this truck is tops in nerd appeal, and not the now-cool ComicCon kind of nerds — the real kind.
4. Bath Petals
Launched by a mother/daughter team, the Bath Petals truck specializes in beauty products — like bath salts, body butters, soy candles, lotions, oils, shower gels and loofahs — that it boasts are all-natural and cruelty-free. Now if they could only get rid of those pesky exhaust fumes.
3. Dig Thriftique
With frequent stops at the Silverlake Farmers Market and the Rose Bowl, this truck specializing in vintage fashions caters to the sort of hipsters who like vintage but want to be spared ever having to actually set foot in a filthy Salvation Army. Their motto: “We do the digging for you!”
2. Popsickle Shop
This 1963 Vintage RV — purchased for for $300 on Craiglist — is now a mobile boutique of exclusively resale and thrift shop gems as well as handmade jewelry. Haunting farmers markets and street fairs, Crystal Melendez, a FIDM grad, promotes the truck with a spunky, you're-gonna-make-it-after-all enthusiasm that only a 23-year-old can muster, and, come Christmastime, she'll have plenty gear for your ugly sweater party.
BNIB is eBay-ese for Brand New In Box — shoebox, that is. The two guys that run this mobile shoe store has shoes for both men and women, but the emphasis is on men's — at the high and low end of the spectrum. There are dress shoes from brands like Tsubo and SWIMS, dressy socks, and undressy sneakers like New Balance and Keds, but BNIB boasts that they like to emphasize rarer shoe styles. Otherwise, what would be the point?