Feature: Stores go mobile

By Columbus Alive
From the August 23, 2012 edition

Move over, food trucks. Mobile stores are going to need some parking space.

“[The mobile Ghetto Vintage] was definitely inspired by the food truck craze,” said Ghetto Vintage owner Josh Harden.

Ghetto Vintage is an online business that operates out of a 3,000-square-foot Whitehall warehouse and sells retro men’s T-shirts on eBay. The mobile Ghetto Vintage — a silver trailer complete with a framed Burt Reynolds portrait — debuted at Summer Flea earlier this month.

Harden has had the 1968 wagon for about five years. He once took it on a seven-month road trip out west. Mind you, it still had green shag carpet on the walls at the time.

After seeing how well Columbus responded to mobile food services, Harden decided to renovate the trailer to sell his T-shirts and other vintage men’s accessories.

“I wasn’t 100 percent convinced that a retail spot would work for us,” Harden said, because his stock changes on a daily basis and is full of unique items. “This makes it easier for the customer to find us and see what we have.”

He’s not alone. The trend of making mobile versions of stores — and medical spas and designer boutiques — is gaining speed in Columbus. Here are three you can venture inside this weekend.

Three mobile stores to try this weekend

Ghetto Vintage

What: This online business hits the road with $10 T-shirts from the ’70s and ’80s, plus belt buckles, boots and ties in a renovated 1968 Avion trailer.

Where: Ohio Food Truck Festival at the Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave., North Side

When: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 25-26

Mobile Global Gallery

What: In a remodeled bookmobile, shoppers will find fair-trade jewelry, accessories and crafts, as well as fair trade coffee, which they can put over ice.

Where: At its debut at Urban Scrawl 6. You’ll also likely see it at the upcoming Hot Times festival. 400 West Rich, 400 W. Rich St., Franklinton

When: 12-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25; 12-6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26

Thread on Wheels

What: The designer fashion boutique Thread on Grandview gutted and redesigned a 31-foot-long 1972 Airstream and loaded it with goodies from the store. Shop high-end women’s clothing, shoes and accessories in a charmingly low-end setting.

Where: Grandview Hop near the boutique’s brick and mortar location; 1306 Grandview Ave., Grandview. Or at the Ohio Food Truck Festival on Sunday; Ohio History Center, 800 E. 17th Ave., North Side

When: Grandview Hop 5:30-9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25

Ohio Food Truck Festival from 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 26

Photos by Tessa Berg