Fayetteville's 'Yacht Club' Trailers: Low Rent, High Traffic Small-Business Incubators

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Jul. 8, 2013 12:00 am  

Cynthia Morris cannot wait to replace her current tenants. She would love nothing more than for them to go elsewhere.

All five of the Fayetteville business owners renting space from Morris are aware of her feelings.

There is, however, no bad blood here. Far from it.

Morris is the owner of property on the corner of College and Trenton avenues. The once vacant lot is now home to five temporary businesses operating primarily out of Airstream trailers.

While Morris is actively rooting for all five vendors to go elsewhere, it is because she wants to see more success stories coming out of what has become known as the Yacht Club on College. Low rent and high volume of traffic have made the location attractive to small businesses with big aspirations.

Morris is hopeful that the photographer, boutique, flower shop and a pair of dessert/sandwich servers now renting space are able to follow the path of Hawaiian Brian’s restaurant and Grey Dog, a vintage clothing store. Both Hawaiian Brian’s and Grey Dog rented space from Morris before outgrowing their trailers and finding brick-and-mortar locations.

The Hawaiian-themed restaurant launched last August and was in a trailer for less than four months. Now a second location in Springdale is being readied to open this summer.

Grey Dog took about 18 months before relocating north up College Avenue, but it is widely considered among current and former Yacht Clubbers as the model to follow.

“I hope everybody does well and I lose them. That is the idea,” Morris said. “I do want people to do well and have success in growing their business.”

Morris does what she can to help her tenants prepare for independent success. For rent that ranges from $350 to $800 per month, the vendors operate in a lot that sees about 24,000 cars drive by per day. Fees charged depend on whether the business owns its own trailer or rents the trailer and land. Plus, there are expenses for utilities figured into each month’s bill.

Because she is using each month’s rent to improve the site, Morris said, she has yet to make a profit. Each month’s rent goes back into upgrades, including recently added amenities like running water, landscaping and a portable toilet.

(Also see Mobile Vendors at Fayetteville's 'Yacht Club' Draw Criticism)



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