Food trucks helping keep small businesses alive

Published 7:25 pm Monday, April 27, 2020

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

Throughout Shelby County, restaurants and other food service businesses are finding unique ways to continue to bring in revenue during the COVID-19 epidemic. One of the most popular methods is by bringing the food closer to their customers with food trucks.

“My husband and I are both self-employed so this is all we have right now,” said Lori Weidenbach who co-owns Frios Gourmet Pops with her husband Michael.

The Weidenbachs typically operate their business out of a brick and mortar location in Alabaster, however much like other food service locations, they have had to adjust their operations to focus on their food truck, cart and delivery options because of guidelines and restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19.

However, even with the hardships they are facing, their business has actually been positively impacted by the support of the community.

“Luckily there has actually been a big push for small businesses lately,” Weidenbach explained. “All of the communities, especially here in Shelby County, have been amazing. We have people coming out and buying our popsicles who may have bought one or two in the past, and are now buying 10 to 20 just because they want to support a small business.”

These changes have been dramatic, but these local businesses are going out of their way to ensure they can stay afloat and continue to serve their communities, even if they have to try new techniques.

“I never really envisioned me driving around neighborhoods with music on, so it’s really a shift in the business model,” said Nick Ianuzzi, owner of Nuzzi Gelato. “But we are just taking what we can get and it is a lot of fun.”

The road ahead may seem tough but these owners are staying optimistic about their prospects and what the future holds.

“You see all the ugly and negative, but then I see how everybody has just embraced this spirit of not letting businesses go under,” Wiedenbach said.