When Meghen Fueston and Lindsay Betland first crossed paths, they bonded over a pair of similarites. One, each hails from Minnesota—they met at a local show in which a Minneapolis band was playing—and, two, both aspired to own a vintage store. After realizing they shared mutual passions for thrifting and biking, they decided to join forces. Since they didn’t have the financial backing to maintain a storefront, they did what any pair of normal entrepreneurs would do: they bought a school bus.
The idea was sparked by Bang Bang Pie’s food truck, the pie maven’s means of business before it opened a storefront. “It was such a cute little truck,” Fueston says. “We thought, ‘Maybe we could do that with clothes.'” Three grand and one peddler’s license later, the team had a bus and a business. They did minor renovations—this ride was previously used as a party bus so they removed the seats and, um, toilet—and the Bus Shop was up and running in September 2013.
The 24-foot mobile thrift store is surprisingly spacious. Clothing lines the windows, an old wooden door is used for shelving, tiny tables display vintage jewelry, and a rack hooks to the outside to attract sidewalk shoppers. “We knew we wanted to have stuff outside too, but we didn’t know if we could utilize the sidewalk space,” Betland says. “We were trying to think of creative ways to hang things on the bus . . . like industrial-strength magnets. [Meghen] created that little rack outside.”
Fueston and Betland comb thrift stores, snagging 80s- and 90s-era clothing that’s “wearable.” “A lot of vintage stores have really cool old 50s cocktail dresses, but I don’t know people that actually wear that kind of stuff. [We get] things that are functional—that you can wear to work, or bike in,” Fueston says.
The Bus Shop’s hours are irregular but you can usually find them in Logan Square on weekends, parked outside neighborhood business like Cafe Mustache or Bang Bang. Their next stop is Sat 2/15 at Hairitics Dye for Your Beliefs (2340 N. Milwaukee).