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It’s like a food truck, but without the food. Gypsy Mobile Boutique is the first of its kind in Sacramento – a clothing store on wheels.
Owner Bridgette Maldonado, 34, said she happened upon the idea in 2006 while in San Diego when two women set up a mobile shop in an Airstream trailer.
“They were selling vintage clothing, and I thought it was a great idea, but I wasn’t ready to do anything like that yet,” she said on Monday.
About a month ago, Maldonado opened her own version, holding an event at Fox and Goose Pub and following up with an appearance at SactoMoFo 4, where her selection of trendy clothing, accessories and handmade jewelry was nearly sold out.
The opening comes at a time when food truck operators are growing in numbers and popularity.
Paul Somerhausen of SactoMoFo said Monday that he thinks the mobile clothing boutique is an interesting concept that adds to the mobile business scene in Sacramento.
“I think because of the economics the way they are that you’re seeing people getting pretty creative,” he said. “That’s fantastic. This is American entrepreneurial spirit.”
He added that operating out of a truck saves on the overhead and long-term loans associated with opening a traditional brick-and-mortar store.
Over the past several months, at least one food truck began operating as a truck because the owners were unable to get a lease on a building and another pair of entrepreneurs are seeking crowd-sourced funding for a startup kombucha bar.
Maldonado said she is able to offer lower prices due to the lack of overhead, with dresses averaging about $50 and women’s tops and bottoms averaging about $30.
A fitting room is part of the truck’s design.
Somerhausen said he isn’t sure if a clothing store will have the same kind of impulse-buy draw that a food truck has, but said Gypsy Mobile Boutique has been well-received by the public.
“At this point, it’s just one truck,” he said. “It will be interesting to see if more show up.”
Lisa Martinez, spokeswoman for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership, said she wouldn’t be surprised if more mobile retailers start showing up.
“I think we’ve seen with the food trucks that there’s definitely some interest in bringing more options to people where they are, and I think a mobile food truck or retail truck can help increase some foot traffic temporarily, so it could be a symbiotic relationship with brick-and-mortar businesses.”
While increased foot traffic can be a boon to traditional businesses, Martinez said some restaurateurs are concerned that the mobile vendors will take some of their sales.
With Midtown’s Très Chic Boutique closing soon, Maldonado, a Midtown resident, said she wants to stay away from the territory of other boutiques to keep from stealing their business.
“I want to be a good neighbor and not get too close,” she said. “I’m trying to build relationships with the food trucks so if the food trucks go somewhere, especially with some of the state areas, I can maybe team up with them so customers can have food and shopping on their lunch hour.”
Maldonado said is developing a regular schedule of days when people can visit the truck. For more information, check the truck’s Facebook page.
Brandon Darnell is a staff reporter for The Sacramento Press. Follow him on Twitter @Brandon_Darnell.