The pop-up store phenomenon
A good business and a good lifestyleJAMIE SMALL
It's restaurant-quality food served out of a trailer, and Hamilton is seeing more and more of the phenomenon called "pop-up" stores.
Owners say the lifestyle is better than running a traditional restaurant and the finances make sense.
Chris McIntosh owns mobile restaurant Goneburger which serves Cambridge over summer, and Hamilton in winter.
It cost McIntosh - who is a trained chef - around $130,000 to buy the trailer and kit it out.
"It makes a fair bit of money. Well, it depends on how good you are."
He said his key to success is making good quality food.
"It's just been an idea I've always had because everyone does takeaways," he said.
He said he has a sense of ownership with the pop-up.
"Once you've paid it off it's yours. With a restaurant you don't get to keep it," he said.
"I don't think you'll become a millionaire doing it, but you're comfortable."
Mizzoni Woodfired Pizza is another success story. Chef Ryan Burke and business partner John Moughan operate two trailer restaurants and a 20-foot shipping container.
"We liked the idea of being able to take food to people, and expanding the market we can get into," said Moughan.
The pop-ups are in Hamilton in summer, and at all kinds of events. For winter, the container is set up on the main street of Ohakune.
Like Goneburger, Mizzoni focuses on quality food, rather than traditional greasy takeaways.
"As far as the food goes, one of our main focuses is having really high quality ingredients and proper processes with the dough," said Moughan. "We don't take any shortcuts.
"It's definitely a cool lifestyle, as long as you don't want your weekends. But that's kind of a standard hospitality thing."
And it pays the bills, too.
"It does have to be financially viable, so you can keep going," said Moughan.
Not wanting to miss out on the fun, Subway franchisees Gill and Paul George bought a mobile store in January. The couple own the Subway franchises at The Base and in Ward St.
"This is much more fun," said Paul George. "We're both outdoors people."
The trailer operates on Maui St and Foreman Rd.
"There's a market for it," he said. "There's no food in this industrial area at all. So to get food they've got to go to Greenwood St or come out to The Base or somewhere else."
They are looking at taking the pop-up to other parts of town, and have their eyes on a spot near the university.
"If it's viable, if the customers want it we'll bring it out," said Gill George.
Do you feel better off than at this time last year?