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E-commerce aficionados! Hello. It’s your pal, Kasia. On a sweltering summer day, the What’s in Store team stopped by the Nashville Farmers’ Market to meet with Stephen Rose, the man behind The Peach Truck. When Stephen first moved to Music City, he made a terrible discovery: No one was selling the fresh, bursting-with-flavor peaches he’d grown up eating in Georgia. All he could find was bland imposters, and that would never do, so he decided to take action.
In 2012, Stephen and his wife Jessica bought a forest green 1964 Jeep and started selling juicy Georgia peaches right out of the back of the truck. Within 5 weeks, they’d sold more than 10 tons of their brown-bagged peaches. Since then, The Peach Truck has snagged a spot in the farmers’ market during peach season, where we saw curious onlookers sneak up to the booth to get a taste. You can also find The Peach Truck in 40 different locations around Nashville—or in packages delivered right to your porch.
Despite their budding success, the team has had its shares of ups and downs, especially when it comes to coordination. “We fly by the seat of our pants a little bit,” Stephen says. “We’re just a grocery store peach if we don’t sell them within 2 days off the tree.”
Here’s how The Peach Truck manages logistics:
Since peach season is so short, Stephen relies heavily on truck drivers and other vendors to deliver the peaches quickly—and keep business afloat. The team has to squeeze 12 months of income out of 3, so missing one day of sales is like a week, he says.
“They’re usually just a natural byproduct of the lives we live,” Stephen says about building The Peach Truck’s extensive network of relationships. “We love Jeni’s Ice Cream, so we flew to Columbus to meet with them and talk about doing an ice cream. We shop at imogene + willie, so we approached them about parking in their lot to sell peaches. Sometimes it’s more about wanting to be in a particular location, but we typically work with folks that we like to shop with or enjoy their product already.”
It makes doing business fun when you get to work with people you like, he says, and customers can feel the difference. “Whether it’s our relationships with the hosts that have us in their parking lots, farmers market managers, truck drivers, or the farm itself, being a great partner is everything to us.”
This year, The Peach Truck experienced a truncated season due to a warm winter (peaches need a cold winter for the trees to rest), but they were totally ready for it. “While we’ve grown quickly, we still operate in a way that allows us to be agile,” Stephen says. “We’ve talked about this scenario for years, so we were able to quickly put our ‘short crop’ plan into place and do everything we can to earn a profit in a short season.”
The team has also launched their first new product, jam, which took off in a way they didn’t anticipate. They can’t wait to do more research and recipe development and see what states their products take them next.
“At the end of the day, peaches are a commodity—although I’d fight to the death to prove ours are the best in the world.”