A small, inviting mobile food truck is pictured in a brightly lit courtyard.
These six small business owners bucked the status quo of a traditional business and storefront location in favor of innovative enterprises on wheels. — Getty Images/onurdongel

Budding entrepreneurs are getting creative when it comes to their overhead. Lower startup costs and less dependency on a specific location make mobile businesses an appealing option. Whether their current mode of operation is integral to their business model or a launch pad for securing a fixed space to occupy, these six small businesses have taken the road less traveled by going mobile.

Primped Pooches Mobile Dog Spa

Certified groomer and dog owner Christin Boyte started Primped Pooches Mobile Dog Spa to resolve issues she'd identified over her tenure in the field.

"Some dogs hate car rides and others have bad separation anxiety," Boyte said. As a mobile business, Primped Pooches saves customers and their pets from those potential discomforts by bringing the groomer to them.

Primped Pooches began serving Plano, Texas, and the surrounding area in 2019, aptly positioning the business for social distancing and the demand for more at-home services. Christin works alongside her sister Bailey Boyte and with state-of-the-art equipment in their self-powered vans, Primped Pooches is fully equipped to provide all the grooming basics — haircuts, teeth brushing, and nail trimming — as well as add-ons like mud baths and flea treatments. With limited space in the vans, each four-legged customer gets a one-on-one session and the groomers' undivided attention.

The Cut on Location

A renovated Airstream trailer is Crissy Chase's mobile hair salon and barbershop The Cut on Location. This Denver-based business has positioned itself as a trendy, eye-catching addition to any business or event, but it was also born out of a goal to fill some gaps.

After nearly two decades of hearing clients say they didn't have time to go to the salon and experiencing recurring struggles with off-site hairstyling for weddings and festivals, Chase built a self-contained salon to address those challenges.

The Cut on Location has three barber chairs, three sinks, a restroom, and a waiting area for walk-in clients. It is a full-service salon offering everything from beard grooming and haircuts to extensions and Brazilian blowouts.

Bronx Bound Books

Latanya Devaughn always wanted to own a bookstore but hesitated because she couldn't afford a brick-and-mortar store. While Devaughn was contemplating quitting one of her jobs, her friend urged her to take the leap.

She showed Devaughn a photo of a book truck, which inspired her to convert a bus into a bookmobile. Now the proud owner of Bronx Bound Books, Devaughn is on a mission to make reading and book ownership accessible to the members of her community.

Despite the public petitioning to keep the Bronx's only Barnes & Noble open in 2014, it was shuttered two years later. Losing the only bookstore in the area was devastating.

Thankfully, an independent shop, Lit. Bar opened in 2019. However, compared to some 80 bookstores in Manhattan, the absence of literature in the borough is palpable. Bronx Bound Books plans to open a storefront and become a permanent fixture as the town's second bookshop.

Now the proud owner of Bronx Bound Books, Latanya Devaughn is on a mission to make reading and book ownership accessible to the members of her community.

Eden's Flower Truck

A college project turned into a small business when Eden Garrett, with the help of Professor Charles DeBerry, put the wheels in motion to launch Eden's Flower Truck. Originally located in Springfield, Missouri, Garrett moved her business to Fayetteville, Arkansas, in 2019.

Beyond its presence at farmers markets and hosting special events, Eden's Flower Truck is also available for private bookings. The mobile flower shop drives to the customer's desired location for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, or photo shoots.

After two successful years, the business expanded in 2020 with Eden's Botanicals, a storefront brimming with single-stem flowers, bouquets, plants, gardening essentials, and gifts. The shop hosts floral arranging workshops, candle-making classes, and has a subscription program for monthly bouquets or plants.

Coffee Cart Nashville

In 2014, Alta and Jesse Keller opened Coffee Cart Minneapolis by replicating the craft coffee culture on a small scale to offer specialty espresso bar catering at events. When the couple relocated to Tennessee in 2017, they opened Coffee Cart Nashville.

Coffee Cart Nashville seeks to bring people together and elevate corporate or private events. Exclusively partnering with local roasters like Humphreys Street and Stay Golden ensures higher quality and a fresher product.

This positioning also lends itself to more of a collaboration rather than competition. Since the roasters can’t cater, Coffee Cartmarkets them to future clients. It's easy to convert customers when the baristas can say, "They're local. They're actually two minutes from the hotel you're staying [at]."

Coffee Cart is transparent and straightforward about packages and menu options, presenting pricing upfront and allowing the customer to tailor the details. The company offers roll carts for indoor or outdoor events and the trailer for outdoor events only.

Creme Tangerine

Situated in the LAB Anti-Mall in Costa Mesa, California, is a record shop on wheels called Creme Tangerine. Cinder blocks sit behind its tires to keep the precious cargo from rolling away.

Before moving into the Airstream trailer, owner Parker Macy was running a small record stand across the street inside SEED People’s Market at The Camp. The owner of the LAB presented the trailer idea and Creme Tangerine has been parked there ever since.

Though it was intended to be a temporary space for Macy, in 2017, after six years of being in business, he said he was still happy with it.

"It's super manageable and stress-free," he said.

Macy started with an inventory of about 5,000 records, supplemented heavily by vinyls from his personal collection. Eventually, the shop started a buy, sell, and trade program to maintain a steady rotation. Creme Tangerine also has a record label by the same name that represents several local bands.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.