Bridgette Maldonado parked her boutique near 15th and Q streets, rolled up the door and set down the stairs. As if by magic, women appeared, to browse and try on colorful maxi dresses.
This was a happy-hour stop for Maldonado's mobile shop, Gypsy, and she had chosen party merchandise to fit the crowd. At lunchtime, she had driven over to a business park in Rancho Cordova with inventory more suited for the office.
"With all this food truck phenomenon, I thought, 'Wouldn't it be great to have a fashion truck?' " said Maldonado, a graduate of Florin High School in Elk Grove.
Mobile boutiques got supercharged around 2005 when a New Yorker turned a recreational vehicle into a clothing store and christened it Caravan, said Sac State business professor Jai Joon Lee.
Like Caravan, Gypsy takes designer concepts straight to the streets. The 34-year-old Maldonado makes the jewelry, but she didn't want the overhead of a retail space or the hassle of consignment.
Maldonado estimated that she and her husband, Marvin, have invested upward of $30,000. They overhauled a postal truck, painting it black and emblazoning their logo in a nostalgic-looking typewriter font. Gypsy has been on the road for about a month.
Tiffany Carter, who lives in Washington, D.C., stopped by while visiting her boyfriend in Sacramento. She marveled at the price of some maxi dresses: "These are $60. In D.C., they're, like, $350."
A number of Land Park residents, business owners and experts from the Urban Land Institute volunteered their time and ideas to restore Broadway's walkability. Now it's your turn.
The Vision Broadway working group is inviting all Land Park residents and Broadway land and business owners to review preliminary recommendations. The meeting will start at 5:30 p.m. May 22 at the Sierra 2 Center in Curtis Park. They'll be taking your input.
During a walking tour of the Broadway corridor in February, residents conferred with urban designer Dan Burden, named by Time magazine as "one of the six most important civic innovators in the world." He was taken with the street's Tower District and encouraged the group to look for ways to replicate that Mediterranean feel.
"It gives you a pattern, a character, a personality that you're trying to be, and gives birth to a grand corridor that restores the simplicity of the past and really makes it the people place," Burden said.
If you dress up your pooch in high-end duds, then you've probably already bought a thing or two from Jennifer Kirk's Posh Puppy Boutique at www. poshpuppyboutique.com. Now you can buy from her new brick-and-mortar store.
The Rocklin resident will open the space Saturday at 6040 Stanford Ranch Road, Suite 200, in the Stanford Ranch Plaza.
"The overhead was the same for me to open a brick-and-mortar or to stay in my commercial building," Kirk said. " We've set it up so we can still handle the e-commerce in the back the shipping, the calls and so forth and the front half is a small retail front."
Kirk, 41, has fared well since closing an eBay store for children and going to the dogs. She won't talk dollars but did say annual sales are five times higher than in 2007, when she began.
Hollywood has given her a boost. She provided canine clothing for the made-for-DVD movie "Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2," and in exchange, Disney touted her website on an insert with the DVD. Now Kirk is "involved with another upcoming movie," all Hollywood hush-hush.
Kirk and her husband, Patrick, have four daughters ranging in age from 9 to 19, and they also have three dogs Teekee the Chihuahua, Lizzie the chiweenie (a Chihuahua-dachsund cross) , and Lulu the Yorkie.