My name is Cory LaFranchi and my wife and I just want to feed you and this is our story.
In 2007 I realized pretty fast that I loved to cook, I wasn't very good at that time but man I really loved doing it, and it sure beat the construction gig that I was working at building cell phone towers. I moved back home with my mom from up north and starting working at a restaurant right down the road from here house on the water. I started out just washing dishes but I was cool with that I really liked the vibe of the pace and people. After a couple years I decided that I wanted to go to culinary school and pursue cooking as a career. Pretty soon after I graduated culinary school my girlfriend (now my wife) and I got pregnant with our daughter and on top of that we had a 5 year old son, So after some long talks I decided I had to put cooking on the back burner and go back to construction to be able to support my new family (cause you can't support a family on a cooks salary) and I wanted to give them what they deserved.
Fast forward 5 years later my wife Ashley and I have 3 beautiful children and everything was right were it needed to be. Except for one thing I'm still working construction and my passion for cooking is still there. So at the end of 2015 I told my wife I was going to take $200 out of our account and I was going to create a taco menu and cook for the public, I needed to see what I wanted to do, so I went shopping, prepped, advertised it for 2 weeks and sold out my very first pop up. I got hooked to the feeling of serving our community and being face to face with them, so we ended up doing quite a few pop ups over the years and built a great relationship with all of neighbors.
Now in 2017 we decided that we were going to buy a food truck and this is where our story is going to start......
We bought a food truck from a couple that lives here close to us, we found this truck on craigslist and read the ad and just knew that this truck was "our" truck this is the one that God wants us to get. So I made the call and asked about it and asked if I could go see it, they told me that the truck was down in Portland and they were willing to meet me down there and show it to me, so I went to take a look. It was awesome! There was some work that needed to be done to the truck itself to get it driving on the road (Tires, Brakes, Shocks, and a few other issues) but the kitchen was brand new and I loved it. I ended up taking it for a test drive came back and we talked about what needed to be fixed and what were those cost. We were told that it has been inspected by a local shop and gave a quote of $5,500 to fix everything and get it rolling which was fine with me since we had money set aside for it.
So I went back home to talk to Ashley and we decided to offer them a price that we thought was fair, called them and they accepted the offer. We did it we were going to operate our very own food truck and could not be happier. So we ended up meeting up, signing our bill of sale and we were off to get our truck.
My oldest son and I headed down the weekend after to go and pick it up from the builder in Portland. When we got to the truck we knew we needed to get it to the mechanic so we could get started on the fixes so we could get it back home.
So this is where it all goes down hill. By the time we hit the road and on the highway I knew something was wrong because the truck starting to lose power, I ended up pulling off the first exit we came to and by the time we hit the light the truck completely died. I tried to start it multiple times and there was no power, so now I have my son with me, were stuck on the side of the road, its extremely hot out and we don't know exactly where we were. So I ended up calling my wife and telling her our situation, after that I called a tow truck to come and get us and take us the rest of the way. After calling about 5 companies we found a guy who could actually tow our truck, he ended up taking our truck to the shop and we could finally go back home and let the mechanics do the rest.
I got a call from the mechanic that the seller of the truck recommended us going to for the repairs called that Monday morning and pretty much told us that he had really bad news. He said there was so many issues with the truck he didn't know where to start. He said he does remember talking to the guy that sold us our truck and said that he was trying to tell the shop what to say and what he wanted them to tell me. He said he was very put off by him and just simply asked me if I could return the truck (unfortunately we couldn't because the money was spent by paying off the builder) so we were stuck with it and getting it fixed. Well that $5,500 quote they got from another shop was actually about $22,000 to get it fixed. There was everything from missing battery, to rust in the gas tank and rusted out the lines, fuel bowl and injectors, to grounds just hanging on the bottom of the truck to power just arching out on the frame.
My wife and I didn't even know what to say or do, this was seriously the worst thing that has ever happened to us. So we ended up doing most of the work at the shop in Portland, we really had no choice at all. After the first stage of repairing the truck we decided that we were going to get it towed up to Washington and our good friend had a shop and wanted to help us out and work on the rest of the truck. So we scheduled to go down the next weekend and get our truck on a trailer and bring it up. So we talked to the shop and talked to the driver and everyone was good to get this transported. So me and the family all loaded up for an exciting trip down to Portland to get our truck and bring it home. We got to Portland and picked up our truck and it started right away and ran strong. So we drove it to our hotel and got it ready for our driver to show up in the morning. The next morning I got a call around 6am from our driver saying that his truck broke down and he didn't know if he could get the part to fix it and said he would let us know by 8am if he was going to make it down to us (I'm sorry What???) So after 1pm he told us that he was not going to be able to make it to us, so now we have this truck and its not safe to drive it home and we can't store it at the mechanics shop. We ended up finding a u haul yard that would take it, so we paid for a month and headed home feeling defeated.
The driver told us that he was going down the next weekend to go and get it. So he gets down there and we get a call by him saying that he couldn't get it on his trailer and it would be to tall for the highway (because of the overpasses) So we were back to square one we had no idea how we were going to get this truck home. My buddy that owned the shop that was going to work on the rest of it said he was going to go get it that next weekend. Well that is exactly what he did, he went to and picked it up no problem. Once he got it home he started ordering parts, he made room in his shop so that they can focus on getting us running. After about a month they finished up the last of it and took it on a test drive, he ended up calling me and telling me that he couldn't get it to go over 35 mph (Awesome!)
So just not really knowing how much more we could take we took it to the transmission shop and sure enough the transmission was about to go out, 3rd and 4th gear were completely gone. So there is another $3,500 that we needed to put into it. Not to mention we still needed to get a new windshield, logos, all our cooking equipment, licensing, etc. So we prayed and got some amazing support from our friends and community and just gave us so much love, support and motivation to keep pushing forward, we did just that! about 7 months from the day we bought it we had fixed all the issues and submitted our plans to LNI to get inspected.
Our plans were with LNI for about 3 months before we got a call back saying we were all good to go after we can send him the info on our hood vent inside the truck. He said once he has that we are approved and can start on the health department paperwork. So I went to the truck that night to take a picture of the spec sheet but I couldn't find one. I reached back out to LNI the next day and told him that I could not find any info, and he replied with if there is no sticker they it was pre fabricated and wouldn't be able to pass inspections because there is no way of telling if it meets code or not. So I ended up calling a guy I was referred to, to get those repairs done but it took him months to get back to me.
So after trying to bring my truck to two different shops, one who was trying to rip me off and the other who would never answer we finally found somebody to give us a hand and to get all these changes done and to get us approved. So he came out to my house to take a look and to give me a quote he came back with it will need $7,500 worth of work. We need to completely remove the hood system that is in there as well is deactivating and moving the fire suppression system, order a new hood that comes pre certified with papers (which I need to get approval) then install everything back and call the inspector.
So coming back to the people who sold us the truck, we have contacted them multiple times to ask for help with some of these bills or if they could help in any way at all and the answer has come back to a "No" every time, they also said if anything needed to be changed in the kitchen that the builder and them had a contract stating the builder would make any changes to the truck if it did not pass LNI requirements at no additional cost to me. This contract did not exist and I haven't heard from the builder for months, i've called him and sent him plenty of texts over the past 4 months and he will not return our calls.
So after this very crazy ride we are coming to the end of the process and so close to getting approved by LNI but we are just short of the funds since we have put everything we have in this truck and for this dream of ours.
We ask you for your help with open hearts. Anything at all will help us even if it is just a share on social media, we are very humble and grateful for this experience and we have became stronger then ever as people but also as a couple and not to mention the community behind us backing us up. So thank you to everyone who has supported us from day 1 we are blessed to have all of you in our lives. We also thank you for reading our story.
We Just Want To Feed You
Cory & Ashley LaFranchi
Street Eats Mobile Eatery
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