After a long day of cooking soul food in a hot trailer on a sweltering day, the Orbit’s Ice Cream & Restaurant crew cleaned up their workspace as more than coworkers — as a family.
Through the heat and trials of opening a new business, the Hoseys are looking forward to bringing a new food selection to Victoria while honoring the business’s namesake and father of the family, Orbit.
Located at 603 E. Goodwin Ave., the food truck is run by owner Novella Hosey and her daughters Stephanie Gibson and Nacole Hosey Nuells with inspiration from Hosey’s late husband Orbit and his ice cream shop.
“We’re a Christian family and we’re a family-oriented business,” Nuells said of the three-week-old food truck.
The soul food truck offers different menu options each day, with options ranging from fried pork chops to oxtail and turkey with gravy or cabbage rolls, and more.
Food truck owners are finding success during the pandemic, while other businesses are struggling.
For another unique food selection in Victoria, The Green Table, currently at 4103 N. Navarro St., is a vegan option for those with a taste for homemade food with roots on either side of the border.
Owner and founder Gisel Ledezma was born in Brownsville and offers barbacoa made from hibiscus flowers, vegan burgers, tacos al pastor and more.
But even with a passion for sharing her vegan foods, she credits the support of her immediate family for helping her put a food truck on her already busy plate that includes a full-time job during the week.
Despite other industries experiencing hardship throughout the pandemic, Ledezma said business has remained strong and includes a lot of return customers.
“If somebody said, ‘What’s the least likely business to be successful in Victoria?’ (they) would probably have said vegan,” Ledezma said. “But people nowadays are more open to trying new things.”
Now approaching the first anniversary of The Green Table on Aug. 24, Ledezma feels that breaking that stereotype gives her and her family confidence.
Ledezma and her mother make the food on the weekends while her husband grabs supplies from the store, makes repairs to the homemade trailer and lends a helping hand.
Acting as a helping hand for family is something Karen Brown, owner of Sweet Dreamz Bakery, is experiencing now more than in past years.
Between her grandson planning to work with her in the future and her brother helping occasionally, it’s her customers and the community Brown built since opening in 2015 that she considers family.
“I’m from a long line of strong women,” Brown said. “And it’s always been about morals, dignity and scruples. So I just started praying for customers, they’re my extended family.”
This year has been challenging for Brown with pandemic-related supply shortages and her brother with autism requiring more care. Despite this, she is gaining more help at the food truck with a new employee she considers her “daughter” starting soon.
With more assistance in the bakery, Brown will continue selling baked goods such as cookies, cupcakes and cobbler at her current location of four years, 8404 N. Navarro St. Delivery is also available online with the Waitr phone app.
“I really love what I do, it’s my passion,” Brown said of her business, which she said she treats like a ministry.
She believes in sharing sweets with the homeless that come by her business and putting a smile on peoples’ faces. Being in business since 2015, she’s even seen one couple transform from experiencing homelessness to owning their own car and living in an apartment; like many other customers, they keep returning to Sweet Dreamz Bakery.
This ability is not uncommon for the locally owned food trucks that have persisted throughout the pandemic.
As a past business owner, Hosey’s key to success is “in order to have a good business, you gotta have love.”
Geoff Sloan reports on business and breaking news in the Crossroads region. He received his Bachelor’s in international relations with minors in journalism and French from Texas State University. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or @GeoffroSloan on Twitter.