July 3, 2022

Thrive Insider

Exclusive stories of successful entrepreneurs

Thess Alegre, Nanna Marce founder (a foodtruck / mobile caravan)

What’s your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

Hello! My name is Thess. The heart of my existence is my family. I am a wife, mother and grandma. Our family is driven by our love for each other and our love for food. This love is what we hope to bring to people through Nanna Marce.

I was raised by a lady named Marcelina or Mama Marce (pronnounced like the planet Mars) as I called her. My childhood memories are full of spending time with Mama Marce, cooking hawker style street food in front of our humble home. From her small beginnings, she made a living to raise me and my younger sister and inspired in us a love for family through service and food.

If my Mama Marce was still around, my children would call her Nanna Marce. Today, I get to carry her legacy and pass it onto my children to hopefully make their Nanna Marce proud.

Describe the process of launching the business.

It was mainly motivated by my children who have watched The Great American Foodtruck Race from when they were kids, as well as their friends.People would often request my special fried chicken for bring a plate parties. They would frequently encourage me to “sell the chicken” but I didn’t think to turn it into a busines until my first born became a mum. I really wanted to slow down with work so I can help her. So I finally listened to my children and allowed them to unleash their creativity to make Nanna Marce what it is today.

Some very important things we had to get in place in our launch were our values in sustainability and social justice. We made a pact to create as little footprint as possible, we are almost fully paperless and we stock renewable/compostable containers. As for our social impact, we have decided that we would like to draw the circle of our family bigger so we have partnered with OnePlate to fight world hunger, one plate at a time.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

I think it’s definitely been the personal touch. We like to get to know our customers and have a conversation with them if we’re not very busy. I pour out a lot of love into the food and people often comment on how homely it feels while taking them on a food adventure. Lastly, I think we live in an incredibly supportive community where people rally around the small businesses – that is something we are very grateful for!

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

We are going okay, trying to roll with the COVID punches and making the business sustainable while trying to do what we can to help keep the community safe. We hope to get a mini bus so we can have a bigger team cook for people, that’s the hope. As for our caravan when the bus dream comes true, we hope to rent it out as a collaboration with local brick and mortar venues who want to occasionally take their food on the road.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

Yes. That people will always remember how you make them feel. There’s so much more to business than just making a living, what has been so valuable to us are the connections we make.

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

Facebook, Instagram, Square (website and POS) , and since the lockdowns, we’ve been trialing Doordash to reach our regulars who can’t leave home.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

The Minimalists, The Great American Foodtruck Race, OnePlate Co

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

If your heart is in it, the challenging days are faced with hope. Hard work is driven by motivation and success will follow but it all comes down to our hearts.

Where can we go to learn more?

nannamarce.square.site or instagram.com/nanna.marce