When you think of businesses on wheels, you might think of a taco truck or a pizza oven. In the Northern San Joaquin Valley, The Cupcake Lady has made a name for herself, driving delectable treats to various locations to sell.
But how about a cute little boutique, with clothing, jewelry and accessories? Or a trailer filled with all the video games of an arcade?
Gabriella Biedinger and Anne McClellan are part of a growing trend of mobile businesses. They run La Pink Boutique and Game in the Box, respectively.
Both got their ideas from other areas McClellan from a sister-in-law in Texas who had a game truck come to her house for her son's birthday party.
"It was the easiest party she had ever planned," McClellan said in an email.
Biedinger said she has long wanted to get into the business of selling clothes but didn't want the overhead of a regular store. She saw that mobile trucks were having success selling accessories in New York City, so decided to try something similar here.
"I've been a stay-at-home mom for three years, and this was something to get me out of the house," she said.
She got her bright pink truck, as well as a business license from her hometown of Oakdale, and went to work.
Since starting up a few months ago, Biedinger finds herself in high demand. She brings her truck to private parties and to businesses that invite her, and she is booked through June.
She said she did not anticipate such quick success she thought the boutique would be a hobby and a way to pay off the student loans she accumulated earning a bachelor's degree in legal studies.
Loyal following on Facebook
Biedinger has built a loyal following on Facebook, where she posts her stops for the week along with photos of her stock, which people can then order.
"I hunted her down," said Sulmy Pivara, 23, visiting a stop in Turlock recently. "I saw the truck and I yelled out, 'Is she open?' "
Pivara said she loves the idea and the clothes. "The prices are very reasonable, given that she's a boutique," she said. "I'm a college kid and even I can afford it."
Alison Washington, who owns Suddenly Perfect Salon, invited Biedinger to bring her truck by for a recent evening. Although the salon also sells accessories, Washington said the businesses are a complement to each other rather than competition. "It's good for everybody," she said.
While Biedinger's business is aimed at adults, mainly women, McClellan's target audience is boys between the ages of about 8 and 15 at least, it's supposed to be.
"I have more grown-ups wanting to take over than children," she said. "Sometimes I have to remind them that the party is for their kids."
Game in the Box is pretty much what it sounds like a trailer filled with comfy seats, video screens and video games of all types, including popular titles for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii game systems. McClellan said she has titles for people of all ages.
She has started to book parties throughout the area, offering the opportunity to entertain guests wherever customers would like for $300, plus gas.
While the mobile business concept has been around for a while in other areas a story on MSN depicted a law office, a gymnasium and a barber shop on wheels, among other offerings it's so new here that there aren't many regulations in place for them.
"It's kind of a new trend," said Patrick Kelly, planning manager for the city of Modesto. City staff is working on a draft ordinance to regulate mobile vendors, but that law would focus on those who sell food.
As far as other kinds of vendors, "We're in kind of a limbo stage," Kelly said. "There are no local rules or requirements or ordinances in play today."
Kelly said it is something the city, and others, could consider in the future.
For now, McClellan and Biedinger are working to firmly establish their endeavors.
McClellan has a separate job. She operates Game in the Box in her off hours, planning to expand the business and make it her full-time job when she retires in about two years.
She would like to see a fleet of trucks or trailers and a building to house the business.
"Game in the Box is the beginning of a future company which plans on serving the youth of the area," she said.
And it's fun. "We offer a safe, stable environment for kids and parents, as well as a positive experience ... Our goal is to make each party its own and to brighten up the special day of any party-giver having a party with us."
Biedinger said she also can envision a day when there are a fleet of pink trucks out there, operating as mobile boutiques.
But at the moment, "It's been crazy," she said. "I haven't had a chance to think about what the future holds."
Bee Breaking News Editor Patty Guerra can be reached at email@example.com or (209) 578-2343. Follow her on Twitter, @pattyguerra.