Our Wheel Good Cookie Adventure
It was early spring of 2021, and Real Good Cookies was growing - and quickly. We had gotten to the point with our wholesale customers and with our local fundraisers, that delivering our cookies out of the back of my Jeep Cherokee was just not practical anymore.
I began to consider buying a mini van or maybe just upgrade my Jeep Cherokee to something larger to be able to haul around these huge cookie orders. Then, I went down a rabbit hole on Pinterest after typing "cargo vans" into the search bar. This started a deep dive into converted cargo vans that made me 1) consider selling my home and living in a van full time (then I remembered I have a husband and three kids and really like my personal space) and then 2) really consider buying one and installing shelving to haul around huge orders for wholesalers and fundraisers. But if I was going to buy a vehicle and make that huge asset investment, I knew it had to be multi-purpose. Thus, the idea of the cookie sales van was born. I began researching on Pinterest ideas for cargo vans that had been converted into food trucks and saw ideas from ice cream shops to coffee shops so I knew it was a possibility. I talked to my local health inspector and did my research on what needed to be done from that standpoint.
I had done my research between different makes of vans and decided the Dodge ProMaster was probably the best fit for me, if I was going to do this. They have a custom builder on their website so I really took the time to do that a few times, to see what features I would want to order, what features I wouldn't want to order and so on. I settled on my features after I joined a couple ProMaster Facebook groups to ask questions, learn from others and get ideas for the future. Remember, this is spring 2021, "van-life" was an insanely growing market and lead times for cargo vans were many months, if not a year+ for custom builds. Knowing that, my husband made the suggestion to just stop by our local Dodge dealer to ask some questions, see what their lead time experience had been recently and get to know what my options were.
We stopped into Lithia Dodge in Grand Forks and met with Don, who was about the nicest guy I'd ever met at a car dealership. He answered all my questions and told me they actually already had a couple ProMasters on order. He pulled the papers and slid the descriptions over to me. I'll be damned if one of those vehicle wasn't ordered with the exact features I had selected, except for one difference (wall panels). Now, I'm not a "it was meant to be" kind of person. I'm more of a, "make a list and make sure this idea makes financial sense and plan some more and then go think about it and lose sleep and then make a decision" kind of person. But, something in my gut told me this was it. I did take one day to think it over and went back and gave Don a check for the down payment.
A couple months of waiting (and planning) went by and finally on July 24, 2021, Don called and said my beautiful 2021 Dodge ProMaster 159 Extended had arrived and was ready for pickup!
Let the adventure (and van build) begin!