"I've always been an entrepreneur, and I've always been creative."
Josh Kim used to sell boxes of Kleenex at the flea market. He'd buy pallets of them dirt cheap, and then sold them at a very profitable mark-up. He recounted another story when he sold a line of discontinued Victoria's Secret body lotions outside of the U.S., making insane money at the ripe age of 23 years. But his story, from Kleenex sales, to the SpOt Burgers cart, to the SpOt Burgers brick-and-mortar slated to open the week of Thanksgiving, is a lot more involved than you'd think.
SpOt Burgers was born out of a healthy obsession with the television show The Great Food Truck Race. At the time, he was deep into the family business of ATM and POS system management, and as an art school major, creative minded individual, it's no surprise that the line of work wasn't fulfilling in the least. He'd watch the show like one would watch Monday Night Football, yelling at the T.V., coaching from the couch. "You can just feel that they were doing it wrong." And like what any good wife would do, his asked him why he didn't just do it himself.
He did, inspired by serendipity. The day after his wife's proposition, he was on one of his ATM routes, when a bodega owner asked him if he was, or knew anyone, interested in buying a hot dog cart. And although he never bought that one, it was the timing of the question that felt like a sign. After a month of stalking a food cart owner to gauge the sort of business he'd be conducting, he pulled the trigger and designed his very own cart, and yes, the yellow/red color scheme was intentional. In school, Kim learned about the way colors affect the human brain, arguing that "canary yellow", although eye-catching, instills a sense of "beware", whereas "school bus yellow" (SpOt's primary color) is just as eye-catching, but the familiar hue is warm and inviting. "You can't keep your eyes off of it," says Kim.
The menu had a simple concept: "take something ordinary, and make it extraordinary". He started with burgers, and to make it "Philly-centric", he added cheesesteaks and roast pork sandwiches. But he wanted to be "the burger guy", so instead of just buying ground meat and making his own blend, he decided to make it from scratch, butchering his own meat, and grinding it down. And when he opened his cart on Drexel University's campus, business boomed.
But then things got a little shaky on Drexel's campus. You see, Kim has a very Capitalist mindset when it comes to the food truck world: basically, let the competition speak for itself. The neighboring University of Pennsylvania's food truck scene is stale, and not nearly the vibrant community found on Drexel's campus, the reason being Penn's trucks are restricted to their locations. "Once you keep trucks in the same spots, quality goes down. They don't have to try as hard, because they know they'll be there the next day." On Drexel's campus, it's not like that. It's a friendly competition, the trucks policed themselves, and they cultivated an organic sense of respect, all of which led to a phenomenal food scene. So when things got dicey on Drexel's campus, Kim looked to other possibilities, and with the help of Ambit Architecture, Kim's well on his way to opening his own SpOt Burgers storefront, in on-the-cusp-of-booming Brewerytown the week of Thanksgiving 2015. And yes, he's keeping it school bus yellow.