Cincy Chic: What is the Tri-State Food Truck Coalition?
Kristen Bailey, Founder of the Tri-State Food Truck Coalition: The Tri-State Food Truck Coalition is a non-profit organization 501(c)(3) dedicated to unifying and supporting Cincinnati Tri-State food trucks and serving as a resource for them, as well as, local governments, community organizations, and the public. As members, we are united in the common goal to advance our food truck culture, supporting tourism and increasing opportunities for economic growth, stability and longevity. Food truck owners are a diverse crowd of rich and poor and represent all races and genders. Roughly 60% of our TSFTC members represent women or minority-owned businesses.
Cincy Chic: What’s the inspiration behind it?
Bailey: Mike & I have been in business for 5 years and as we continue to grow our food truck business, we were both seeking new opportunities for expansion. We both have a commissary kitchen to support our catering operation and wanted to grow our catering business to 60% of our gross sales. Specifically, we are targeting corporate catering & large scale events. We’ve found a lot of other food truck entrepreneurs are in the same boat after years of running food truck lunches, etc. We’re now one of the veteran food trucks in a growing market with 160+ food trucks in Greater Cincinnati alone. Getting into food truck rallies and other key events is more competitive than it’s ever been. Imagine being one of 160+ foodpreneurs applying to the Taste of Cincinnati, where only 19 food trucks are accepted.We are looking outside the box to create additional opportunities for our members, while supporting areas where street food options aren’t available. There’s a high demand for supporting tourism. Cincinnati is a top 10 destination for conventions across the country. The organizations visiting Cincinnati bring in lots of hungry people, thus our partnership with the Cincinnati CVB emerged. Furthermore, we have a strong emphasis on diversity and our mission aligns well with Vibe Cincinnati. Cincinnati is also home to several Top 100 Businesses and we are working with many of these companies to provide opportunities for our members to vend, in addition to introducing catering leads.We support food truck entrepreneurs and set them up for success; amplifying catering and event opportunities by providing clients with a range of diverse, high quality and high profile street food options.
Cincy Chic: Who’s behind it?
Bailey: Kristen Bailey, Co-Founder & President Owner of Sweets & Meats BBQ Mike Mandell-Brown, Co-Founder & Vice-President Owner of Hungry Bros & Midwest Meal Prep. You can learn more about the directors here.
Cincy Chic: Do you have any upcoming events?
Bailey: We have multiple events in the works, including a new partnership with Coney Island. We hosted our inaugural TSFTC Food Truck Rally there on April 27th & will host a fall event there as well, in the Land of Oz. Updates will be posted to our Facebook business page and website. We are in the process of organizing an open house event to attract additional members, however we are all very busy during food truck season.
Cincy Chic: What makes the Tri-State Food Truck Coalition unique?
Bailey: We collaborate with the other food truck associations in Cincinnati and are looking to support food truck owners who are seeking to grow their business, with a focus on corporate catering and large scale events. We support all food truck owners, providing educational opportunities, resources & hosting workshops. Our members directly benefit from partnerships with local corporations & our relationship with Vibe Cincinnati.
Cincy Chic: Is there anything new on the horizon?
Bailey: We are amidst a busy food truck season, but will be hosting an Open House where food truck owners van learn more about TSFTC this fall.