By Alexis Barton
The Anniston Star, Ala.
Mary-Anne and Greg Stay started cooking for crowds in 2011, dishing out barbecue from a trailer towed by a pickup.
Their business, Smoke-N-Hot BBQ, was so successful, they’ve since parked the trailer and expanded into a full-service restaurant on Alabama 202. However, the couple say they might not have made it into the restaurant business without starting on wheels.
“The first time we opened our food truck we literally we opened the window, then looked at each other and said ‘What do we do now?'” she said.
The food truck trend, a fixture in many urban centers where entrepreneurs use them as a low-cost way to break into business, rolls a bit slower in Calhoun County, but it’s here. The Calhoun County Health Department’s environmental office says it’s permitted 14 “mobile units,” though just three or four operate on a daily basis. Vaughan Fleming, the office’s supervisor, says most use their trucks as companions to brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Owners must get permits for permits for both a commissary — a sort of homebase with storage, a sink, a restroom and a wastewater disposal system — and the mobile unit, Fleming said. Depending on the type of food they plan to serve, they may be required to get a manager’s certificate. Owners must also submit a route schedule so county officials know where to find them.
“Once they’re permitted they can go anywhere in the county as long as they have the property owner’s permission,” Fleming said. “Since this is a large county there’s no way we could find them without the route schedule since they’re mobile.”
Kona Ice serves its flavored shaved ice throughout Calhoun County at sporting events, concerts and schools.
Owner Dwayne Wood and operations manager Wayne Rogers have been in business since 2013. In October 2014 they opened a store in Jacksonville to sell gourmet popsicles and candy as well.