I want to tell you about our journey with Liv - our 1971 Streamline Trailer turned into mobile retail store...
I had this dream for a store. Last year I started searching for leasing opportunities and that scared the heck out of me. The prices were so high, I'd have to work mall hours or boutique hours, and some places even made you pay more rent the more successful you were!
I love my job. I love being able to coach my kids. I love spending time with my husband. I love to travel. I love adventure. And so, the idea of a mobile store came to mind. What if I took the Food Truck and made it a Fashion Truck? There are over 500 Fashion Trucks in the USA and very few in Canada. I only know of a handful locally in Alberta but have never actually been inside any of them.
The Hunt for Liv Began
I started looking on Kijiji ads for an Airstream because I was adamant that was the look that I wanted. I didn't want to do the old chip truck or old mail van. The problem was they were asking between $14,000 -45,000 USD for an airstream that had been renovated and even more for the ones that had already been converted in to retail stores.
I was telling my coworker Jane about my pipe-dream store and she said that she and her husband had one at their lake lot. They'd been using it for 15 years and it was covered. She spoke with her husband that night and let me know that yes, she would sell it to us! It was snowed in, we do live in Alberta. Our plan was to pick it up in February or March depending on the weather and have one month to complete the renovations before our Grand Opening in May. We picked this beautiful Streamline up for a whopping $2500 CAD.
Like I stated earlier, we had planned on getting the trailer at least a month before our first show which was booked in my hometown, St. Albert, Alberta at one of my favourite events, the Rainmaker Rodeo that is put on by the Kinsmen Club. On May 21, 2017 my husband took the 4 hour drive to pick up the trailer. The tires hadn't been touched in over 20 years, were brittle and in bad shape! We could't find tires and it was a long weekend in small town Alberta. He drove the trailer back to our home...veeeeeeery carefully, and veeeeeery slowly. And then the work began.
Have I told you how incredibly supportive my family is? My husband Iain took the week off work and my brother in law Casey came and pitched in too. Because of the old rivet style, it wasn't a typical demolition. It was painstaking and slow. They had to be soooo careful. I'd sent them picture after picture of what I'd envisioned for the interior.
This is what the kitchen looked like. Lots of 70's brown, yellow and gold.
Once they had taken out the bedroom, kitchen and furnace, my Papa, who is a professional painter started the task of painting the walls. Lucky me- the trim was already a beautiful gold. My favourite accent colour! Three coats of paint were needed. Mama Bear Sheila got in on the action too and made curtains for our Phase 1 change room (bed area) which we forgot to put in place!
Here is my Papa painting the interior all white leaving the beautiful gold trim and accents in place. You can also see the white and blue linoleum that was replaced with the hardwood flooring.
We had taken our friends barn down from rural Alberta and used some for our wedding. Since there was a ton left over, Iain used it to make some built in tables from it.
Iain chose the hardwood floor to put in, I wanted real barn wood, but his solid advice was, no. It would get wet and dirty and smelly. He chose a beautiful hardwood from Home Depot that looks like barn wood.
I spent some alone time in Liv getting to know her after the renovations started. This was now my Happy Place.
So we had it ****almost*** ready for the Grand Opening. The response from people was outstanding. Phase 1 complete.
Here are some of the after pictures...
The kitchen was there on the right Where the beautiful clothes now hang.
The beautiful old barn now my checkout and wrapping area.
My parents and I on my opening day!
Phase 2 was just painting the back room. On our opening weekend we used the second "room" as our change room and hadn't had time to paint it. It was painted all white like the rest of the space. We originally intended to just use the space above in the cubicles to display hats and boots, but have since started hanging items so that we had more "retail" space and have more products on display.
Phase 3 will be underway at the end of the summer. Currently our change room is behind the white and gold curtain in the bathroom. We have extra storage back there that is lockable, where we keep extra stock. It will be redone in marble and tile and with a fixed mirror. I've forgotten more than once to take it down at the end of a show and come home to shattered mirrors...what is that, 14 years of bad luck? Good thing I don't believe in that nonsense!
If you'd like to hear more about or renovations, send us a message!