Green Street Vault‘s truck was put on halt after they began getting hassled in March by Boston Inspectional Services for not carrying proper permits … that don’t exist.
Food trucks are the new black. Err–food trucks are the new fertilizer. You lay it out somewhere, it has a certain aroma, and you sit and wait for the harvest to yield. And by the harvest, I of course mean people. Food trucks stop and sell at many already buzzing areas of the city, yes, but they also attract new customers, like bees to honey, to a formerly un-poppin’ location. Plus, the food-truck phenomenon opens up the restaurant market to a greater diversity of goodies and allows entrepreneurs to bring their innovative ideas to fruition without struggling to come up with the funding to build and run a traditional brick and mortar restaurant.
If food trucks are the new fertilizer, then I dig the smell they’re putting down. And apparently so does everyone everywhere, because the mobile food business is on the rise and, inevitably so, regulated. So after an intensely scientific data analysis, one could only hypothesize that mobile could reign supreme over other vending categories as well.
The “one” I am giving a huge “what’s up” to here is Derrick Cheung, co-founder and “Main Dude in Charge” of Green Street Vault, Boston’s premier men’s apparel truck, which has received tons of notoriety in the mere eight months it “I think I can, I think I can”-ed it’s way through this dear city of ours.
Green Street Vault’s truck was put to a halt, however, after Cheung began getting hassled in March by Boston Inspectional Services for not carrying proper [mythical] permits.
Basically, retail truck permits in Boston are akin to tan gingers–they don’t exist unless you fake it. And there was no way the truck would even be able to stealthily park around the city, since one apparently social-media-savvy coding officer warned the owners that he was following them on Twitter and Facebook, so wherever the truck went, he would too.
“It’s not like we’re selling crack out of the back of the truck,” joked Cheung.
But what Green Street is selling is some tasty local creativity that’ll get you floating high on Cloud Streetwear, to use a metaphor that’s stretched almost more than junior-sized leggings on TLC’s Half-Ton Mom.
“We’re encouraging local creativity and local entrepreneurship. There is extreme, extreme talent in terms of fashion and innovation here in the city but no one realizes because we’re overshadowed by LA and New York,” said Cheung.
The Green Street Vault emerged as an idea after Cheung enrolled in Emerson’s E3 Entrepreneurship Program. Like all other kids who think big, he initially craved the creation of some crazy dream store, and being a sneaker head, he wanted to have a truck on the side with the sole purpose of selling sneakers. Like most recent college grads, however, Cheung didn’t exactly have the funds it takes to buy up a space, plus he couldn’t seem to decide on a location, so he solved both puzzles and got a truck.
In the short time that Green Street Vault was alive and thriving on the streets of Back Bay and Downtown, traditional retail owners began to complain about all the attention the truck was getting. The kick is that most of these nagging brick and mortars cater to a completely different clientele than would ever be intrigued by the men’s (largely local) skate wear brands and sneakers that Green Street offers, yet they claim the truck is stealing their business.
“We don’t have the inventory, so if anything we’re just making the pie bigger.”
If these traditional shop owners’ arguments were to hold any ground, then wouldn’t the same be true for traditional restaurants and their food truck brethren? It just doesn’t fit.
Some other retailers who, on the other hand, do sell apparel of a similar cloth to Green Street’s, don’t seem to mind the truck’s presence outside their shops.
“Stores like Johnny Cupcakes have realized that if we don’t have a particular item, we’ll send [the customer] over. It’s a symbiotic relationship more than it is competitive,” said Cheung.
And besides, the sighting of a clothing truck, a concept that can’t be spotted just anywhere, can entice tourists and bring more business to the area. Cheung said the Greet Street Vault has even had folks from out of the state come and look for the truck. It’s like a sneaker treasure hunt.
For now, pirates on the search for a booty of local menswear and sneakers can find Green Street’s products seven days a week at their pop up shop, Green Street Jungle, a collaboration with Boston-based menswear brand Annie Mulz, open until July 31 on Newbury Street. In addition, the truck comes out to play every Sunday at SoWa Open Market from 10am to 4pm.
“[We] really try to support local bands, local skate brands, local artists. People who are just trying to make it. We also support a lot of local rappers and musicians,” said Cheung.
To help support Green Street Vault right back…into Back Bay and Downtown, and to foster the plausible creation of many more retail trucks, sign their petition to expedite the creation of retail-truck permits HERE.