GREENFIELD – The tidy beige trailer parked alongside the road drew a lot of stares from passers-by.
They’d seen such things before — on TV, mostly, never in person.
“Oh, it’s a tiny house!” one person said.
Another commented, “That’s so cool.”
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Owners of the home on wheels, marked by a small hanging sign marked, “Lucy Couture Boutique,” welcomed the attention Saturday at Hamilton Town Center’s harvest festival. Jessica and Justin Green, co-owners of Lucy Couture Boutique and Eddie Lawrence Men’s Store in Greenfield, recently purchased the 104-square-foot tiny home from a builder in Nashville, Tennessee, with plans to use the structure as a mobile store at festivals, outdoor events — even home parties.
The husband/wife team saw in the tiny home a unique way to draw business, whether by parking it at well-traveled events or offering it up for private gatherings.
The tiny home will be parked near 10 N. State St. for the Riley Festival, scheduled Thursday through Sunday, offering men’s, women’s and children’s clothing. The store joins about 450 other businesses, crafters, artists and organizations slated to fill Main, North and State streets during the four-day festival, said Linda Lowe, Riley Festival administrator. Alongside the mobile store, there will be free photography, hair braiding and other offerings to entice the crowd, Jessica Green said.
The entrepreneurs had wanted a second storefront for their women’s and children’s clothing boutique, but with the men’s store holding its grand opening in April, they paused over the approximately $100,000 cost of opening yet another new store, Jessica Green said. Their first store, Lucy Couture Boutique, opened in 2014 in downtown Greenfield before moving to 1929 Melody Lane.
And so, the Greens starting thinking outside the box.
The couple has often seen other boutiques or small businesses use covered trailers as mobile stores, she said. But it was during a TV show called “Tiny Home Nation” that she had her light-bulb moment, she said.
The trendy tiny home could house products instead of people.
“Nobody’s done a mobile store like this,” she said. “I hope everyone likes it as much as we do.”
They ran into a snag with the idea almost immediately — the owners couldn’t find a builder that would make a custom structure for the business, she said. They searched Indiana manufacturers, but most were making only pre-fabricated tiny homes, which came with a price tag of some $50,000 or more, she said.
Eventually, they found a builder in Tennessee, who agreed to custom build their store for less than a year’s worth of rent in a brick-and-mortar space, or about $25,000, she said.
The mobile store features clothes sizes newborn to women’s 3X, said manager Wendy True, and everything featured in the small shop can also be found in the larger stores or online. On the trailer’s first outing, True and Green picked scarves, leggings, cozy sweaters and other clothing items to help transition shoppers’ wardrobes from summer to fall, True said.
The structure features moveable shelving to change the display as needed, a dresser, a mirror and even a tiny dressing room demarcated by a long curtain. The ceiling of the store is emblazoned with a wooden sign that says “#Ishoplucy,” and soon, the other side of the ceiling will feature a similar social media slogan for the men’s store, Jessica Green said.
Megan Earnest, manager at Hamilton Town Center, where the mobile store had its first run, said the unique structure drew people in.
“It keeps the store in kind of a cute frame,” she said. “It’s marketable. When people walked by, they wanted to see the inside.”
Their first attempt with the tiny home at the Harvest Festival in Noblesville helped them troubleshoot before the Riley Festival and later events they plan to attend, Jessica Green said.
“We realized how many things needed to be changed with the clothing racks and lighting,” she said. “It was a good learning experience.”
Earnest liked the business and its mobile store so much, she invited the Greens to be a part of the outdoor mall’s annual Santa Village from mid November to Dec. 31, she said. Mall managers hope adding the mobile store to the tree farm and Santa Claus visiting area will bring more shoppers to the site, she said.
Each year, Riley Festival organizers seek vendors with new products and presentation. Lowe said the mobile store is a cute addition to the annual festival’s offerings.
The Riley Festival begins 5 p.m. Thursday and continues through Sunday afternoon.
The festival takes place in downtown Greenfield, with booths and trucks along North, State, Main, and South streets as well as American Legion Plaza.
- Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.
- Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Sunday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, visit rileyfestival.org.