Bingham Farms, FranklinAugust 8, 2012
Food trucks rally hungry lunch guests in Bingham Farms
By Tiffany Esshaki
C & G Staff Writer
FRANKLIN/BINGHAM FARMS — On Aug. 2, employees who work inside the Bingham Office Center, on Telegraph Road, got the chance to leave their sack lunches at home for a day.
The Farbman Group, which owns the building, hosted a food truck rally in the center’s parking lot, where hungry workers loaded up on eats from some of metro Detroit’s most popular mobile restaurants.
The event, which was open to the public, wasn’t the first of its kind for Farbman, which started organizing similar rallies at some of its other properties last spring. Christina Dibartolomeo, asset manager at Farbman, brought the concept of food truck rallies when she heard about the idea from a participating food vendor.
“I was talking with Scott Maloney from Treat Dreams. He and I were discussing back in December how he’d like to bring a bunch of food trucks down and offer a good change of pace for people in the area for lunch. We were happy to support the local creative businesses.”
Maloney is the owner of Treat Dreams, an ice cream shop in Ferndale that specializes in unusual and increasingly popular flavors like salted caramel, amaretto peach with ginger snaps and even macaroni and cheese. He said he’s been participating in local rallies for some time now as a way to bring in extra revenue and lure new customers into his Woodward Avenue shop.
“It’s beneficial to us. I look at this as kind of a marketing tool; getting people to try our ice cream and expose them to Treat Dreams that way,” he said. “It’s crazy how many people I see in the store just because they saw us at a rally and were exposed to us. I wouldn’t be surprised if in the future more brick and mortar stores come out for the marketing opportunities.”
Maloney said his store usually participates in about six rallies each month during warmer seasons, each one drawing huge crowds eager to munch on the tasty and affordable foods from a variety of vendors. The popularity of the rallies has only grown over the past year, he said, adding that at some events he’s scooped ice cream for nearly 500 customers.
“The food truck rallies are popular because the food is really good. The trucks we have aren’t the old roach coaches of years ago that would show up to lunch sites with prepared food wrapped up beforehand. These trucks are truly mobile kitchens. They prepare food right there, and they’re licensed that way.”
Carlos Parisi works close to the Bingham Office Center at Mars Advertising in Southfield. He said he’s been to other food rallies, and he and some of his coworkers decided to visit the food rally for a change of pace from their usual workweek lunch menu.
“(The rallies) are fun, local and delicious,” said the Dearborn resident. “It’s good, affordable, convenient meals.”
A change of pace is just what Farbman was looking to give its tenants when it organized the rally and invited food trucks like Concrete Cuisine, Green Zebra, People’s Pierogi Collective, El Guapo Fresh Mexican and of course Treat Dreams. Dibartolomeo said the group has hosted a number of rallies in Detroit at the Fisher Building, which Farbman manages. The success of those events inspired Farbman to expand the rallies into the suburbs.
“The tenants loved it, and that’s why we’ve done it again. They love the experience of coming outside, trying the different foods, and the chance to break out of their daily routine, enjoy the area and socialize outside for a change.”
Maloney said Treat Dreams has food rallies booked through October, and expects to go even later than that if the weather holds up. And since the rallies come at a minimal cost to Farbman, Dibartolomeo expects to see a repeat visit of the trucks on the group’s properties as well.
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