Stillwater, OK is home to Oklahoma State University, about 46,000 residents, and exactly one vegan company: the Beet Box food truck. While vegan options can be found all over the country, it’s true that some areas want for plant-based eats more than others. Randon Moore and Gwnyeth Yvonne were two vegan college students who decided to fill this gap in Stillwater, and their efforts resulted in the city’s number one food truck (that just happens to be vegan). We chatted with Moore and Yvonne to learn more about Stillwater’s food culture, how they’re changing it, and what it’s like to start a vegan food business.
How it all started
This overwhelmingly popular vegan food truck is run by two very young entrepreneurs—both are in their early twenties and relatively fresh out of Oklahoma State. Why did the two business partners adopt a plant-based diet? Each had their own reasons. Yvonne watched popular documentary Cowspiracy and realized the ethical and environmental implications of eating animals. For Moore, it started after he was diagnosed with MALS (Median Arcuate Ligament Syndrome—a condition where the median arcuate ligament presses on the celiac artery—in 2017. “It took over a year to be diagnosed. I also had to give up my college football dreams due to this health uncertainty. After going through surgery, I created a transformation video of my health progression that went viral. Dr. Armando, from The Doctors, reached out to me recommending a plant-based diet. I’ve been vegan for 3 years.”
Changing perspectives in Stillwater
The duo described Stillwater’s food culture as very chain- and fast-food driven, where the likes of Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s reign supreme. Before launching the truck just shy of two months ago, there were no vegan establishments in the greater Stillwater area. “We know the struggle of not having a vegan option to turn to living in smaller towns,” Moore and Yvonne remarked. Since opening, the majority of Beet Box patrons have been omnivores who simply fell in love with the mobile kitchen’s comfort food. Many customers have already become regulars—ordering multiple times a week. “The community of Stillwater has embraced us by showing us love and support and we truly appreciate them!” Moore remarked.
Vegan comfort food at its finest
Both entrepreneurs were born and raised in the Midwest, and the menu at the BeetBox reflects their comfort and soul food appetites. They developed a proprietary chickenless sandwich and hooked the sweet tooths with their homemade vegan desserts. The pair are always up for a bit of recipe innovation and light up when customers try their latest creations, all made from scratch in the food truck’s compact kitchen. Thursday through Sunday, diners line up for the Loaded Fries, Coconut Shrimpless Tacos, various Chickenless Sandwiches, and decadent, über moist cakes in adorably short mason jars.
Advice for young vegan entrepreneurs
“Do not feel as though you have to succumb to the norm. There is great success in the vegan community and there are so many opportunities. Not everyone is going to see your vision, and that’s okay. Stay true to yourself and your passion,” advised Moore.
From food truck to franchise
Not only has the Beet Box thrived in this challenging environment, but the owners are already looking at expansion. Moore divulged that they’re looking into direct-to-consumer e-commerce options to greatly expand their products to folks beyond Stillwater. Later down the line, Moore and Yvonne plan to create a franchise of Beet Box trucks and stores across the Midwest. Follow this rapidly evolving company on Instagram (@_beetboxtruck) to view the weekly menu or visit the website for updates on the forthcoming e-commerce option.
Tanya Flink is a Digital Editor at VegNews as well as a writer and fitness enthusiast living in Orange County, CA.
Photo credit: The Beet Box
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