They’re one of the smallest of businesses, so it’s only fitting for Small Business Week for the Pikes Peak Region began with a food truck cook off Sunday.
The week-long event, organized by the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado and the Pikes Peak Small Business Development Center, includes several talks, workshops and networking opportunities to help develop and grow small businesses.
"There’s no better industry to represent small businesses than the food truck industry," said Gina Sacripanti, vice president of marketing for the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. "We have over 200 food trucks registered in El Paso County, and they are a big contributor to this economy."
The organizations estimate around 1,300 people came to Sunday’s cook off, which featured 17 local food trucks vying for a pair of prizes.
Jamie Faulkner owns and operates Wild Goose Catering and Barbecue. He said it takes a lot of work and effort to run.
"We go all the way back to Kentucky just to get our wood," Faulkner said. "It’s 937 miles on way."
Two years ago, he grew tired of working in the corporate sector, so he took a pair of his paychecks and paid for a food truck.
What was once a vision is now Wild Goose Catering and Barbecue, which Faulkner said specializes in southern-style barbecue.
"I finally said, I’m done. I’m going to do my own thing," he said. "I looked in Colorado, there’s not really any barbecue here that’s not commercial. And so I said, ‘Let’s do small barbecue. And that’s what we did.’"
And those companies not only satisfied customers, foodies and judges Sunday. They also keep our money in our economy.
"For every dollar spent with a local small business, 67 percent stays in our local community," Sacripanti said. "So, when you go to a food truck and you know that they’re here, you’re supporting the small business economy here."
For Faulkner, the cook off was a way to generate more business and test his culinary skill against the other food trucks.
"They see that truck and they say, ‘Oh, we had his barbecue. They know where to stop,’" he said.
And as it just so happened, the Wild Goose was voted Best Food Truck in show by the judges.
If you’d like more information on the rest of this week’s events, click here.