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Old 07-15-2012, 10:14 PM   #1
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
Plantation , Florida
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New Member With Wild Ideas

Hey Guys and Gals,

First time poster here, but I've been browsing for about a week now and I decided to come to you with my questions.. First of all, let me give you some background on how I ended up where I am now. I am a young entrepreneur and recently was looking onto starting a pretzel store or gelato shop in a mall. I was looking into it very closely and getting my plans together. The other day I was at work and a very nice guy stopped by, hes a contractor. He had a box trailer that was built into a display case for his material.. Countertops, shelving, flooring, light fixtures, etc.. It was great! So I got to talking with him about business. Told him my plans and he responded with the best idea I've ever heard. He told me to make a mobile gelato shop! And because I happen to work for an RV company, I had quite a selection to choose from. Knowing what was on the lot, I was immediately drawn to the Airstream. Its a 1984 345 MH. It has quite a few issues however I can turn it into a long term project and make it just how I envision it.

So the idea begins... What I want to do is (and I hope you all dont hate me for doing this):

By the way, Im going for that 1980's retro look so that will explain the theme

1) Polish whole exterior
2) Scrap the whole interior except the bathroom
3) Refinish all walls with original interior aluminum (or place new aluminum) I dont care about time consumption, just budget.
4) Refinish floor with material similar to attached picture
5) Place one bench on driver wall from drivers seat to bathroom wall to match attached picture of new AS
6) Place benches on passenger side to match drivers side from pass seat to where other bench ends
7) Place display case from back bathroom wall to closet wall (or just shorter to allow passage for me to walk)
8) Build shelving to house equipment and such in rear area
9) Add finishing touches with neon lights, curtain driver divider, and anything else

The idea is to serve the gelato from the rear bedroom through the rear window to outside seating and to walk in customers from over the display case.


SO, Id love to hear your thoughts on this! As for the questions...

1) Ive seen threads of people tearing down the interior of the travel trailers, Is is about the same for motor homes? I wont be touching the drivers area, but other than that?

2) Does this at all sound like a plausible design?

3) What may I encur for pricing as far as building and installing couches, shelving in the back, and flooring? I am considering professional help for that stage of the process...

THANKS IN ADVANCE!
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:20 PM   #2
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First off... Welcome to the Airforums Adam345! Sounds like you have a great vision for your mobile business. I think anything is possible and that chassis is certainly capable of lugging around some Gelato. You might consider saving all those pieces that you remove just incase this 345 needs to go back together some day. Best of luck and take more pictures as we love them..

Congrats.. Vinnie
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:23 PM   #3
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Sounds like a great idea, maybe make one of the couches fold into a bed so you can sleep in it if you have to. Good luck and post some pics if you decide to do it.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:27 PM   #4
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Originally Posted by Airslide View Post
First off... Welcome to the Airforums Adam345! Sounds like you have a great vision for your mobile business. I think anything is possible and that chassis is certainly capable of lugging around some Gelato. You might consider saving all those pieces that you remove just incase this 345 needs to go back together some day. Best of luck and take more pictures as we love them..

Congrats.. Vinnie
Thank you very much! And I will doefietly be keeping the old couches and chairs.. Attached is a picture from the interior currently. The PO decided to try and remodel it and failed pretty bad, so youll see what happened there.. Choppy wood floor, bad stain job, torn up cabinets, ripped out switches.. I figured this would be a great canvas. I would never rip this thing up if it wasnt already..
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:27 PM   #5
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The idea sounds cool () but if you don't have a background in the food service industry, you might talk to your local health inspector about what you would need to do to serve food & wash up in your Airstream. This might affect your kitchen design somewhat. Also your municipality probably has ideas about where you can set up. Would you need to purchase your own portable seats, and perhaps canopies for shade for your customers? Would you have to pack these up and transport them in your AS at the end of your work day? If so, this could also affect your layout.

Good luck with your project.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #6
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STOP - before you proceed - go to www.colonialairstream.com - look at the USED Airstream inventory. There'a a Victronix (sp?) 34' trailer that might be almost ready for what you want!

Paula
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:34 PM   #7
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Sounds like a great idea, maybe make one of the couches fold into a bed so you can sleep in it if you have to. Good luck and post some pics if you decide to do it.
Thanks, and Thats a great idea! Just sounds like more money which I do not have.

I can always keep a sleeping bag somewhere ans sleep on the floor if needed!
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:36 PM   #8
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I've seen some people propose some crazy stuff, but this one actually looks like it could work.

Give some thoughts to electrical power requirements and weight of your equipment. your going to need some real special help here.

I do like your inside/outside plans. I'd give some consideration for lightweight folding tables and chairs to stick under the awnings. Maybe under the couches?

You also going to need some thinking on water suppy and sinks. Will you need handwash and utility sink?

I'd think I'd go for a couple of flatscreens inside with a killer sound system and a sidemounted exterior screen hooked up to a wii?

Gotta make a popup sign for the roof also!
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:45 PM   #9
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Len n Jeanne View Post
The idea sounds cool () but if you don't have a background in the food service industry, you might talk to your local health inspector about what you would need to do to serve food & wash up in your Airstream. This might affect your kitchen design somewhat. Also your municipality probably has ideas about where you can set up. Would you need to purchase your own portable seats, and perhaps canopies for shade for your customers? Would you have to pack these up and transport them in your AS at the end of your work day? If so, this could also affect your layout.

Good luck with your project.
Thanks for your ideas! I am going to be in contact with the health inspector before the renovation of the interior, just to be safe. and on the note of the awning, I plan on using the original (Zip Dee?) for outdoor seating area laying down turf (fake grass) then putting picnic tables and chairs on it. As for location, Ill be getting the permits to be an operational "food truck" and only going to certain venues on certain days of the week..

For example Friday night in my area there is a car meet with mainly older cars, some new.. Ill try to get into there weekly.

On a side note, I forgot to mention that in my vision, I have music from the 1980's playing in the bus and myself dressed up in time-appropriate clothing serving.

Saturday night I'd like to make a deal with a Pizza shop in the area (great hangout spot for the city), they are absolutely packed fridays and hopefully can work out a deal with them to sit on their property..

So on and so fourth, one location for each night of the week.. or not every day, but you get the idea.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:49 PM   #10
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
STOP - before you proceed - go to www.colonialairstream.com - look at the USED Airstream inventory. There'a a Victronix (sp?) 34' trailer that might be almost ready for what you want!

Paula
Awesome find! Just a little out of my price range though.. I am purchasing the motor home for less than $6,000 and putting is as little as possible.. hopefully around $15,000. But willing to add more if necessary.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:02 PM   #11
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1984 34.5' Airstream 345
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I've seen some people propose some crazy stuff, but this one actually looks like it could work.

Why thank you! I do on occasion come up with crazy ideas but I hav a good feeling for this one!


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
Give some thoughts to electrical power requirements and weight of your equipment. your going to need some real special help here.
I was already thinking big time about the power issue.. I want to replace the gen anyways for better reliability so I was thinking Onan 8000. If that wont hold it than Ill have to go with a portable unit that puts out a little more. Those are loud and heavy though.. 400lbs to be exact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
I do like your inside/outside plans. I'd give some consideration for lightweight folding tables and chairs to stick under the awnings. Maybe under the couches?
Yup, just replied to another post about football turf and plastic tables for outdoor seating. Depending on what I find wither Id just fold it up and secure it in the isle or if it cant be folded I guess Ill hire help and bring a truck there also. If I do end up with the portable gen, Ill need the truck anyways

Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
You also going to need some thinking on water suppy and sinks. Will you need handwash and utility sink?

I was thinking for this I'd take the water supply for the main area sink that will be removed and run it all the way back because I will definitely need a sink for health reasons


Quote:
Originally Posted by DanB View Post
I'd think I'd go for a couple of flatscreens inside with a killer sound system and a sidemounted exterior screen hooked up to a wii?
I do like the idea of tv's inside for design purposes, but I see budget being a problem here.. not only that but it doesnt really go well with the 1980's theme.. However I have no idea what the future will hold so who knows!

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Gotta make a popup sign for the roof also!
My main idea for signs was to fill the decorative strip (not sure what its called) that some AS have filled with color and or model name, with a color and the company name and also to put in big letters the name on both sides of the MH in the rear area where there are no windows...
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:34 PM   #12
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I would seriously consider coming up with a solid business plan first, no maybe or this might work things drawn on napkins. Gather hard numbers. Most of all you need to find a mentor and get them to help you.

Once you have your plan in writing get a loan and get the motor home done in a timeline of 6 months or less. Businesses start and fold faster than your gelato can melt. You need to have the funds to make your dream happen and start generating income.

I have run my own business for 6 years now. I am still fine tuning it and trying new things. But our key to getting going was what I mentioned above. We got a loan and got cracking.

You may be able to find a private investor that can help you from the business side of things.

One last thing...

Google "shiver sisters" out of el dorado hills ca.

They are selling shaved ice out of a 64 Bambi and doing very well at it. It's a similar concept.

Good luck.
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:37 PM   #13
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Welcome to the forums, Adam, and I think you have a great idea. Now you just need to get over all the hurdles.

You will need a good gennie but it will need to be quiet or you will scare off all your customers. Remember this needs to be a positive experience all the way around for them.

Good luck.

Dan
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Old 07-15-2012, 11:57 PM   #14
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Hi Adam,

Lots of great ideas going on there.

I've been in the restaurant business for 30 years or so, and have several vintage trailers and a motorhome that I have similar plans for (although with the thought of doing event catering rather than "food truck" work). Here are a few things to consider.

The width of your door will dictate the size of the various pieces of equipment that you'll be able to fit into the truck. Most commercial pieces are too big to fit through.

You may want to think twice about inviting the public into the moho at all. The steps are probably not in compliance with any code involving rise, run, handrails, etc., and are certainly not compliant with ADA requirements. Think about this from a safety / liability standpoint.

Even on a good day, most restaurants have an inclination to self destruct. When you're dealing with frozen products you will need bullet proof reliability in your mechanical systems. That will include your freezers as well as your air conditioning. If you plan to be "mobile", with the ability to operate without shore power, this will all be dependent on your generator. As I understand it, most mohos do not have adequate generators to power both AC units simultaneously (not to mention lighting and refrigeration loads). Also, the heat load being dumped off by your freezers will in itself possibly be enough to overwhelm the stock AC units on your rig. Gas refrigeration with dry ice back-up maybe?

You may be required to have hot water available for hand sanitation.

Your generator will make a fair bit of noise, and spew some hot exhaust gas. Consider this as you plan your exterior layout.

I have often said that the ONLY business problem you don't have in a restaurant is the need for an accounts receivable department. I guess you could add to that, the need for a mechanic to keep a big block Chevy running. Take a hard look at whatever you're buying from a mechanical standpoint.

Check out a German company called Airstream4U. They are the masters of this type of thing. They work mostly with trailers, but from the standpoint of style and craftsmanship their work is magnificent. You will be inspired by their many projects.

Good luck!
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