Photos by Jayme Winkelman Photography
On the outside, Fox Run Mobile Marketplace is an expandable, five-ton ex-military truck. On the inside, it’s a curated home décor boutique with items from 13 local vendors. But behind the unique storefront and modern interior, owners Tia and Aaron Scott have created a brand that not only supports local artists, the environment, and charitable organizations, but also redefines the shopping experience.
But Minnesota’s largest home décor truck wasn’t always on wheels. Just a couple years ago, it was like any other vendor booth you’d see at local art fairs, selling furniture, lighting, “junk,” vintage items, and handmade wares. It wasn’t until her first vendor partner said the three words that changed it all: “Let’s get mobile,” that the two altered the path of their business model.
MH: Tell us more about the story behind Fox Run Mobile Marketplace.
Scott: At the end of 2017, I was really getting into interior design because we were remodeling our house. That sort of transgressed into furniture remodeling and I started going to shows. At the first show, I met our very first vendor partner and we just started partnering with all of these vendors. By the time August 2018 came around, I had a vendor meeting and said, “Look, I love working with you guys, but I just can’t haul your stuff, our stuff, plus do eight hours of set-up time to get it the way we want it to look. I just want to quit.” And everyone’s like, “Don’t quit, Tia! You’re so great at this, don’t quit!” All of a sudden, it became this weird springboard for ideas on how we could change our model.
How did you decide what this new model would look like?
When we first started, I knew I wanted to take my original vendor partners with us. I thought really long and hard about what this new shopping experience would look like. I came up with this idea: “Let’s take categories of stuff, like leather, candles, jewelry, purses, whatever, and boil it down.”
How did you choose your 13 vendors?
Originally, there wasn’t going to be 13. It was going to be eight. At the time, we hadn’t been in the space and I wasn’t sure how much we could handle, but I was looking for particular things. Were they personable? Were they excited about their product? Did I think their product had marketability? The biggest thing it came down to for us was personality. I wanted to build a community.
Everybody also has this element of sustainability. It’s a hot topic for us. We love to repurpose everything. Everybody makes “something” from “something else” and their products are all-natural or eco-friendly. Without knowing, we had built something bigger than what we had intended.
How did you find the truck?
My husband started poking around on Craigslist and he found it. He showed it to me and it just looked like a box truck—it didn’t look like anything. And he said, “No, no, you don’t understand, it expands! It expands!”
So, we went down to Rochester to look at it and we pulled up to this thing. It was massive and not what I was expecting. I walked inside for the first time and it was so weird—I could see it in my mind. We waited a couple of days, then we went back, purchased it, and haven’t looked back since.
Now that it’s remodeled, how would you describe the look and feel of the truck’s interior?
The truck is a modern, rustic, industrial truck. You look at it from the outside and you’re like, “I just… I just can’t imagine what’s inside.” And then people come in and say they could live in it. We use a lot of repurposed materials and displays. It’s just a cool, Bohemian place you want to chill in and hang out all the time.
What’s so special about Fox Run Mobile Marketplace? What draws in customers?
One, the products are great. They’re made here in Minnesota. We’re supporting makers. That’s something of key importance and is really hot for people right now. On the flip side, I love to take a space that’s gross or has poor lighting and give it a light, airy, fresh, feel—like you walk in and you’ve been transported somewhere.
I think the combination of the two is really what’s attracting people to us. They want to feel like they’re getting something they can’t get anywhere else while having this weird, transformative shopping experience. You just want to spend hours in there. I feel like every time you look at something or glance at a new corner, you see something different.
How do you see Fox Run changing or transforming in the next year?
It’s funny you ask, because I just got offered to do a market with The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. The working title right now is “Plaid Market” and it’ll be on Black Friday this year. This isn’t something we had ever intended on doing, but people know us for putting on a good experience and having great makers.
Do you have any plans to swap out vendors or add more in the future?
I do, yes. For 2020, I’ve offered to extend contracts for five out of 13 vendors. We’ll take the remaining seven contracts and open it up to brand new makers and vendors. We’ll still have some element of familiarity, but we’ll also have brand new product that no one has ever seen before.
Is there anything else you want readers to know?
We put the markets on, we run the Mobile Marketplace, but without our 13 makers, none of this happens. I don’t ever want to take away from what the makers are doing because that work is so important. I don’t ever want to lose that focus. It’s not about us, it’s about them.
Learn more about Fox Run’s 13 vendors below:
- 8th Avenue Market
- ASpire Signs and Décor
- Everart Designs
- Found Home Farm
- Grandma Skills
- Lower Woodland Studio
- Moxie Mala’s
- Sebesta Apothecary
- Socially Handcrafted
- Spicy Nacho Décor
- Studio Cyrk
- Spoonful Apparel