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The East Coasters: Food truck owners using cotton candy to make ends meet

Posted at 5:58 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-24 20:58:21-04

MESA, AZ — The pandemic has brought many businesses to a standstill. Behind those businesses are owners, business partners, and families trying anything they can to make ends meet.

Among them are two veterans who are spinning their gears to keep their food truck in operation.

Rob Randolph and Jason Markowitz own "The East Coasters" food truck and were in the process of securing their permits for it to hit the road when the COVID-19 pandemic. The menu will specialize in New Jersey and New York dive-bar favorites, such as deep-fried hot dogs, Papaya drinks, and Taylor Ham pork rolls.

For now, those plans have been halted. The expenses are adding up.

"The money that I have saved is almost coming to a close," said Randolph. So, both Randolph and Markowitz have found another way to try and bring in some money -- cotton candy.

When they bought their food truck, it came with a cotton candy machine.

"We are currently trying to sell some cotton candy to get our business started," Randolph said.

Each Saturday from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m. the men set-up shop beneath a tent in front of their house in a neighborhood near Guadalupe and Sossaman Road and begin spinning fluffy clouds of cotton candy.

"I've really been surprised by how much business we could get with cotton candy right now," Randolph said. "And it just might help keep us afloat, to our surprise."

They have begun accepting orders via social media and their website during the week. Then, on Saturdays, people can stop by and pick it up. Or, people can stop by and pick-up a fresh batch. Currently, they have 12 flavors to choose from.

So, will cotton candy pay the bills?

"Apparently during this pandemic we've found out that a lot of people have really been craving cotton candy," joked Randolph.

Randolph and Markowitz are doing what a lot of food truck operators are doing right now. With nearly every spring event canceled, many food trucks are bringing their menus to people's doors -- erm, driveways -- for curbside deliveries, among other creative ways to keep the grills hot.

A few weeks ago, ABC15 featured "The Traveling Cup," a coffee cafe on wheels that was bringing cups of joe to neighborhoods all around the Valey.

That is something these guys want to do as well.

"We're definitely going to be setting up in neighborhoods as well. We've already talked to HOA's so we definitely want to try to get into some other neighborhoods," said Markowitz.

HOW TO ORDER

People can pre-order their cotton candy via The East Coaster website, www.theeastcoasterfoodtruck.com, or through their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/theeastcoasterfoodtruck.

Or people can visit their stand on Saturdays, from noon to 4 p.m., at 7557 E. Onza Avenue, Mesa AZ 85212