By Lisa Brown St. Louis Post-Dispatch
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The mobile truck boom has made its way to St. Louis where Michael and Jennifer Saputo-Peterson have converted a delivery truck into a mobile boutique on wheels, packed with artwork by local artists and other exciting treasures. St. Louis
A new way of shopping for home decor items is pulling up to a parking lot near you.
Michael Peterson and Jennifer Saputo-Peterson of Maryland Heights recently finished converting a delivery truck into a mobile boutique packed with candles, artwork by local artists and other housewares for sale.
The business, which they've named Indigo Home, is like a food truck that sells throw pillows instead of lunch. Plans are to make the rounds at corporations, festivals and other events, where a revolving assortment of home decor merchandise, from picture frames to vases, will be offered.
Products made by local businesses, including soy wax candles from Glow Candle Co., are featured, and the goal is to keep prices affordable. Items for sale range from a few dollars to about $200 for a small coffee table.
"My aim is to bring you all the little things that make your house a home, like picture frames holding cherished photos and the blanket you curl up with at the end of a hard day," said Saputo-Peterson, who also works part time as a corporate wellness coach. "I haven't been able to find anyone here that does what we do."
The interior of the 1999 truck that the couple bought on Craigslist little resembles its past life as a Jays potato chip delivery vehicle. Contemporary dark flooring, crown molding and display shelves were added, and at 144 square feet, the truck can accommodate several shoppers at a time. The cost to buy the truck, add exterior signage and renovate the interior totaled about $20,000.
At its debut outing Saturday, dozens of shoppers stepped into the truck parked outside the Six Mile Bridge craft brewery in Maryland Heights to shop. Its next stop is a craft fair Saturday, June 25, at the Bethel Pentecostal Church in Arnold. The truck plans to make stops at the swap meet on Cherokee Street in south St. Louis and ultimately at corporate campuses for workers to shop on their lunch hours.
Saputo-Peterson said she became interested in interior decorating when she first stepped into her dorm at Missouri State University in Springfield more than a decade ago and realized she had the power to transform the room with color and fabrics.
Last year, she shopped at some St. Louis area trucks selling dresses and other apparel and realized the mobile aspect of the truck would work well for other items.
"Design has always been a creative outlet for me," Saputo-Peterson said. "I was really inspired by the boutique trucks around St. Louis. I'm not a girl who likes to shop for clothes, but it was a fun way to shop."
Her husband, who works in the telecommunications industry, said he was immediately on board. "What other investment is better than your home, that people spend money on?" Peterson said.
Saputo-Peterson bounced ideas off of other business owners through a St. Louis-based entrepreneurial support group, Business Women Connecting. Through these discussions, the couple changed the name of the business from Pillow and Plaster to the favorite color of Saputo-Peterson's late grandmother. "People thought we were a drywall company," Saputo-Peterson said of the discarded name.
The popularity of food trucks in St. Louis in recent years and customers' increasing familiarity with them is a plus for the startup, said Business Women Connecting's founder Kate Brockmeyer.
"People love the uniqueness and newness of mobile transaction vehicles," Brockmeyer said. "There's this really cool, cutting-edge feel to it."