flint food trolley

This photo shows the trolley that will be restored before coming to downtown Flint.

FLINT, MI – Curbside dining could be headed to downtown Flint if a local businessman gets his way.

Food trucks offering everything from hot dogs to gourmet tacos have proven a popular drawn in big cities like Los Angeles but, so far, have mainly steered clear of Flint.

Now, the creative director for a Flint ad agency wants to park a refurbished trolley inside the Flat Lot at South Saginaw Street near East First Street and sell ice cream out of it with an aim toward attracting young families downtown.

Joshua Spencer, who is the creative director at The Spencer Agency and director of the non-profit Ichthus Flint, said the ice cream trolley is coming in from Austin, Texas, will be restored and will have five to 10 employees inside. Patrons won’t go inside, but will be able to sit on benches near the trolley.

”We’ll probably be opening in mid-July through the end of the summer and intend to be back each summer at the same or new locations,” Spencer said. “Who knows where we’ll be at that point. We’d like to remain on Saginaw.”

Food trucks began in Los Angeles and are popular because local laws allow gourmet food vendors to drive up to a curbside and sell items such as grilled cheese, artisan sandwiches and tacos, according to Greg Gless, food truck expert with roaminghunger.com.

The website pulls food truck locations across the country, with the locations photos and Twitter feeds in order for customers to find where their favorite truck is set up or look for vendors in their locations.

“A lot of it has to do with the layout of the city itself,” Gless said, adding that Columbus has 50-plus trucks that go throughout The Ohio State University campus. “Their concept ties in very well with the campus community.”

Food truck rallies started in Dearborn two years ago as a way to get people to various parts of downtown, according to Cindy Grimade, the city of Dearborn’s liaison to the West Dearborn Downtown Development Authority.

“It brings people to the district and once they’re there, they stay,” she said. “We’ve been very happy with the turnouts. Individual business where the food trucks set up have said their sales were up – some of them said (sales) almost doubled.”

Flint Mayor Dayne Walling said the ice cream trolley would send a message about downtown Flint.

“A successful ice cream shop is a sign of a healthy downtown,” he said. “Food trucks and creative eating establishments are the new trends for downtowns. It’s wonderful to see a local entrepreneur trying the concept here.”

Find the entire article by Dominic Adams at mlive.com <here>