Merced County Times Newspaper
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Single mother finds success as food truck owner


Nancy’s Food Truck, located at 2050 Industrial Road on former Castle Air Force Base, operates from the parking lot of Big Creek Lumber.

Its hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Nancy Virrey, the business owner, told the Times, “I’ve been in business since March 2019.  I’m doing this business on my own. I’m single and have three children. I have no employees.

“I’m not technically in the City of Atwater. I got my permits through the County, and I can only operate in the County — not within the city limits of Atwater.

“They’ve been debating whether to allow food trucks in the City of Atwater for awhile now.  They haven’t been allowing them for years.  The recent decision of the Atwater City Council to allow food trucks in Atwater wouldn’t affect my business because I’m in the County. But if I decide to go into the City of Atwater, I guess it would.

Describing her background in the food industry, Virrey told the Times, “My mom has a food truck in Merced by Costco. She’s had that business for almost 20 years. I was really young when she started, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.

“She upgraded to a new food truck, so I bought her old one. My mom said that I’ve taken everything I learned from her and gone beyond. She sees that I have many different things than what she makes, and she asks me how do I do it. She’s really proud of me.

“Growing up in the business, there was a lot of Mexican food like tacos and burritos. I wanted to have something different to set me apart from other established food businesses.

“I try to do a lot of different meals with shrimp. I have a shrimp burger which is a regular cheeseburger with two meat patties and shrimp, lettuce, tomato and avocado.

“I also do a basket of fried shrimp, and I have shrimp pasta.

“Shrimp Boil is a Cajun style dish.

“Recently, I’ve been working a lot on especially healthy, low fat meals because my customers are going on diets after the holidays, so I’m making grilled chicken and veggies, and salads.

“I also have tacos and burritos. One burrito I recently created is the Surf and Turf Burrito, and it has beans, rice, carne asade, shrimp, sauteed onions, cabbage, salsa, sour cream and cheese.  It’s really popular.

“About two weeks ago, I posted on Instagram before I made it the first day and I said the first customer would get one for free, and I had a lot of people come to get one. One of my regular customers got the free burrito and bought two more. Now he returns every so often and buys one.

“Right now, since it’s my birthday this month, I’m having random give aways. A lot of people entered, and I gave away a 25-pack of tacos yesterday. At the end of the week, I’m going to start another give away for a 25-pack.  What I do to advertise is I post the offer on Instagram, as well as the rules involving following me on Instagram and getting others to follow me.

“Some days, it’s so awesome having my own business, and other days, I’m wondering what I’m doing. When you’re doing it on your own, the financial aspect of it is scary. During the holidays, business slowed down. Being a woman, there are things I don’t know how to do on the vehicle mechanically, but I have friends to help.

“It’s been hard but at the same time very rewarding, and I’m very grateful.”

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