In the summer of 2013, Vonda Thayn and her husband Gary were hauling a semi-truck load when they stopped in Nevada for some food. They bought a pre-made sandwich that was spoiled. It was common for truck drivers to eat everything pre-made, deep-fried, or spoiled fruits and salads. Vonda was tired of it.
In January 2014, Thayn began searching online for help starting a small business that addressed the problem of poor quality fast food. She found the SBA website which directed her to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) office in Price. Thayn began working with Ryan Murray, SBDC Director at USU Eastern. After several months of work, Thayn’s dreams became a reality when she opened up Modern Day Chuckwagon.
Modern Day Chuckwagon is a mobile service that allows Thayn to go directly to her clients. Usually, Thayn and her daughter set up on Main Street in Huntington, Utah. Because she is the only home-cooked option in town, her business is growing. Thayn is scheduled to be at many of Emery County’s biggest events including Heritage Days, Pioneer Days, and Peach Days.
The SBDC was a significant factor in the start-up of her business. Murray was able to walk Thayn through the process of starting a new business. He helped her to get her business licensed and registered. He provided advice on how to set-up the mobile food trailer and assistance on the proper cost structures for the business.
“My SBDC advisor, Ryan Murray, has been a BIG help. He gives me homework assignments such as creating my business plan, creating check lists and outlines, and calculating break-even. He checks up on me to make sure that everything is going well.”
As the business moves through the critical first steps of development, the SBDC will be there to assist with the company’s profitability. Many of these issues such as low priced menu items, were difficult to identify, but were affecting the profitability of the business.
Modern Day Chuckwagon and the SBDC continue to work together to expand Thayn’s business and maintain profitability.