Paradise Coach owner plans for four food carts on property

Benny Westcott

On March 9, the house that was situated on Jeff Vanderpool’s property, 1333 47th Avenue, which is also home to his business, Paradise Coach, burned down. Now only a gravel lot sits in its place. But Vanderpool has big ideas for it.

He says that within the next two months, the gravel lot will be paved over and four food carts will sit on it. Under the plan, there will be a beer barn, bathroom, and a bunch of parking spots. One of the carts will be Kim Ja Thai Food, and, speaking on Sept. 13, Vanderpool said that cart would be on the property in about two weeks. He’s looking for three other carts but says he is going to be very particular about his selections.

“I’m gonna taste test everyone before I let them come in here,” he said. He wants a barbecue cart, a Philly cheesesteak/hamburger/hotdog type cart, and an Italian cart.

“The best part about a food cart is you can take everybody there and everybody can get something that they want,” he said. “We need stuff here. Everybody I talked to was really reinforcing the fact that it’d be a neat thing to do. I’m excited about it. We need other options here.”

He said that “For regular food we’ve got The Point, but not everybody can afford to go to The Point every time they want to go eat something. Especially if you’ve got kids. So this is going to be a kid-friendly place.”

He wants to make sure the operating hours for the carts on his property are clear.

“You go down to Lebanon to Tallman [Brewing], and you’ve got a certain cart that you like, they’re rarely there when you go there, even though their hours say that they’re supposed to be there,” he said.

“So I’ve made sure that when they sign my lease, they have got to be there at the allotted hours. If they’re not, I’ll make them move. I’m not going to play the ‘we rent from you, we can come and go as we please’ game.”

Vanderpool expressed frustration on working with the city of Sweet Home during the food cart facility’s planning process.

“They’ve been very unhelpful in trying to get all this approved,” he said of the city. “Everybody else has got gravel lots where all their carts and stuff are. But they want me to pave and do curbs and sidewalks. And I’ve got to get this $20,000 grease trap. All this crap that nobody else has.

“The return on investment now after all the crap they’re making me do is going to be years down the road, before I’m making money off of it,” he added.

Vanderpool has been the owner of Paradise Coach, which specializes in RV and car sales and repair, since 1988, and opened the Sweet Home location seven years ago.

He remarked on the unfortunate circumstance that makes the Paradise Coach property viable for food carts at all.

“If [the March 9 fire] hadn’t happened there’d still be this big ugly house here and we’d still be doing business as normal,” he said.

But with the planned food carts, business next summer could be anything but.

“We’re a stone’s throw from the lake,” Vanderpool said. “So next summer this is going to be a crazy place.”