Many food trucks around Abilene united downtown Tuesday to launch The Food Park, a new centralized location for the public to eat a variety of foods.
People can choose their lunch from nine food trucks including: Rock’n Roller’z, 1881 Food Truck, Beastro Food Truck, The London Express, Beffers Food Truck & Catering, Kona Ice of Abilene, The Crabb Shack, Crosseyed Jackalope and The Grub Bus.
The Harmels are founders and creators of A People Party Productions, an Abilene business specializing in promoting and marketing local businesses, musicians and organizations. Forrest Harmel also works for a non-profit neighborhood mentoring program and developing his own business called Forrest Woodworks.
With a desire to have a centralized location for food trucks, Jen, an ACU alumni, and Forrest, originally from Austin, drove around Abilene and set their eyes on the corner of South First and Sycamore streets.
When the Harmel’s found the empty lot downtown close to many other attractions they said it was perfect in every way.
The owner was Cade Browning, a personal injury attorney, who Jen said expressed he always had a vision for the property to be used as a business and was open to helping the Harmels achieve their dream.
But finding the location was just half the battle.
“Food trucks are very apprehensive about setting up when there would be more than three trucks there,” Jen said. “But we always believe that if you have a hub, you will have better success.”
The Harmels sent out a survey to gather opinions from the Abilene community. The results showed that about 75 percent are excited to have a centralized location providing a variety of menu options. In the occasion of rain or bad weather, more than half of the people who took the survey said they would still stop and get a to-go order.
“We have over about 700 people attending” Jen said. “We hope people understand that if there is not enough seating it’s because it’s an out-of-ordinary type of day and we’re going to try to do our best to accommodate everybody there.”
The Food Park is accepting contributors to sponsor a table or local businesses interested in marketing.
“This is the first time I’ve seen food trucks stick around, and we believe that it’s because they have had a lot of support from the community, local businesses and Abilene’s constant public events that contribute to their business,” Jen said.
The Rock’n Roller’z is made up a few childhood friends who love food and music. The friends have 20 years of combined experience in the food industry, said Jesse Husbands who works for Rock’n Roller’z.
“We are super excited,” Husbands said. “We have done several large food truck events so the saying ‘the more the merrier’ goes without saying.”
The long-term vision for The Food Park is to become a fully-furnished venue with live music, bar catering, children’s play area, community garden, market days and other special events.
The Harmels said they are excited to be part of developing the culture and beautification on the south side of downtown.
For more information about The Food Park, visit http://www.abi-foodpark.com.