This Celebrating Geauga Small Businesses post is from Vicki Gliha of The Bus Stop, Geauga County’s Food Truck
Geauga County Public Library: When was The Bus Stop founded?
Vicki Gliha: June, 2017.
GCPL: What is the story behind your business? How did it begin? What challenges did you face in getting started & how did you overcome them? What challenges do you face in your day-to-day operations, and how do you overcome them? What is your favorite part of owning a business?
VG: Being a single Mom for most of my 2 kids’ lives, I almost always had a side job working in a restaurant or tavern. My official career was Transportation Supervisor, or Director. I worked for both South Euclid-Lyndhurst & Solon City Schools for over 20 years. I decided in January of 2017, with the new retirement packages, and the changes being made in our public education system, that it was time for me to move on.
GCPL: Why did you decide to start your business?
VG: I settled on a Food Truck, versus a brick & mortar restaurant, as it seems to be a new trend, and I thought it made an easy transition. I am very familiar with school buses, so I chose to go with a Charter bus conversion for my truck.
What inspired it? A very good friend helped me form the concept: school-themed and Bus related. It seemed natural with my 20+ year history.
GCPL: What kinds of training and education did starting your business require (College, trade shows, seminars/conferences, etc.)? Have you ever used the library to help with this?
VG: The education piece of owning and operating a food truck is never ending. I am always trying to stay up to date on new trends with food. The food truck craze is still fairly new to Ohio, and even more so in Geauga County. The state has recently enacted several regulations and rules regarding food trucks, so it has been fairly easy to maintain compliance. There were many times I relied on other trucks to offer guidance and information.
GCPL: What resources did/do you find most useful in helping you to start, grow, and maintain your business (books, software, training materials, databases, etc.)?
VG: I would say that the most useful resource has been the internet. Typical business software for keeping track of inventory, finances, and tax business, has been pretty easy to incorporate. There a few websites dedicated to making it easier to find your favorite food truck, and I like using Roaming Hunger, and Street Food Finder. They are both very easy for customers to find their favorite trucks location, or to discover new trucks! Readers should definitely look into using them, so they can always find The Bus Stop!
GCPL: What advice do you have for people who want to start a business?
VG: Research your field, take the time to speak with others who are already involved. Remember, it takes a lot of time!! My days typically last 10-15 hours, depending on what needs to be addressed: shopping, preparation for next day, cleaning, emailing, marketing, networking, advertising, speaking to clients, getting your brand recognized. All of those things take time, and someone has to do it. And then, at the end of every day, the truck needs to be cleaned out (swept & mopped floors, replenish stock, wiped all the stainless steel appliances down). It’s virtually a rolling restaurant. It needs to be kept clean, maybe even cleaner than a restaurant, as customers are basically in your kitchen every day!
Vicki says her last good read was Tell No One by Harlan Coben, of which she say, “I’m sure I borrowed it from a friend, and then passed it on to one. I refuse to throw books away!”