ou might have already seen it serving Club Members in the City of Los Angeles. If you haven’t, you will very soon.
It’s the Club Truck, the latest in the Club’s total dedication to serving Club Members.
It’s more than the famous #ClubMobile Red Tent. It’s more than the old Club Store was. It’s both of them built into one super-capable Sprinter van that can go wherever you are, more often, with more items and information, while being far more responsive to your needs.
It’s incredible, really. Here’s why:
The Club Truck Is…
The Club Truck can reach hundreds more locations. Not just big yards – office buildings, sidewalks, parking lots, town squares, and more than even we can imagine.
The Club Truck schedules anchor visits every month – locations you can count on in advance – but so many more. That certainly means one near you. The Club Truck is available for booking as little as 24 hours in advance.
The Club Truck can serve more than one location each day. The Club Truck takes only 10 minutes to set up.
The back end of the Club Truck – the hat and embroidery machines, and much more – are powered by solar panels on the Club Truck’s roof.
Hi Lupe! Where is ClubMobile taking you today to meet Members
Guadalupe Lira: We’re heading to the First Responders Relay race in Las Vegas. We’ll be meeting teams from all over the state, including runners from our LAPD teams. It’s going to be a great opportunity for them to see what’s new.
Before we get to the exciting news of the incredible Club Truck, let’s take an overall look. What’s the status of Club retail right now? From our perspective, it’s really popular, and growing.
Guadalupe: Right! In 2023, we closed our Club Store on Second Street downtown, as most Members know, and we went completely mobile. Now we visit all the yards and worksites directly throughout the City, and even some state locations like Caltrans yards, state hospitals, and state prisons where our state Members are. Supervisors can invite us to safety meetings, employee appreciation luncheons, and new employee orientations! We bring all the benefits to the employees!
Our aim is to bring the Club to them at their worksites rather than inconveniencing them to go to downtown LA.
All of that is in addition to our online store, which is open 24/7. It’s open for Club Members and also for nonmembers who are fans of City of LA merchandise. Our merchandise is open and available for people to purchase 24/7. Ordering has never been easier!
And busier than ever?
Guadalupe: Busier than ever, yes! We’re keeping up with the high demand, but that’s what keeps us running. We know how impactful our service is on employee morale, so again, supervisors can invite us and count on a great service for their employees! Contact us to schedule a visit to their workplaces.
Store on Wheels
So let’s talk about the big news, the introduction of the new Club Truck. What is it?
Guadalupe: It’s a Mercedes Sprinter that was converted into a store on wheels. You might see people out on the road in mobile homes, but in our case we customized it to our own specifications to create a store. It’s one of the very few mobile stores that you’ll see at this time.
It has a sliding door that we open and flip down a counter to meet Members and take orders. We’ll usually have one staff person inside the back, fulfilling orders directly. We also make our custom hats right within the back of the truck. It’s very much like when you go to an ice cream truck and ask for what you want. The person inside fulfills the order and hands it to you through the side.
And you also set up a business table outside the truck for insurance information and other Club resources.
Guadalupe: Yes, that’s right. It’s the mobile version of both our Club store and Club services. Our licensed insurance counselors are available at ClubMobile visits to update member information and evaluate benefits tailored to each employee’s needs – all without leaving the office!
What does the Club Truck represent in terms of Club service?
Guadalupe: We are truly living up to our mission, which is to celebrate the work and lives of public service employees. That mission is written on the outside of the truck.
The Club Truck removes the limits. It represents uncharted territory. We’re going there, wherever that is. That’s what it means. The Club comes to you!
For example, with our famous Red Tent, we’d gotten to a lot of places, but we couldn’t access all City worksites. We can now go to sidewalks and parking lots, not just green fields or big, open yards. Let’s say a City worksite is on a higher floor in an office building. Now we can come out to them outside in the parking lot ready to serve them. We’re going to Members at municipal hospitals; they know to expect us at the parking lot, and we’ll be there. A good example of the increased flexibility is Piper Tech. There are dozens of departments in that building, but accessing them all has been an issue. Now, with the Club Truck, we can spread the word out throughout the building, and so many Club Members at Piper Tech can count on us being in the parking lot.
One of the events that we normally visit is at the Harbor’s Liberty Plaza, by the Boys and Girls Club. And now, instead of setting up some tables inside the lobby or parking lot, we’re setting up the complete “store in a truck” outside next to a food truck that comes out for the employees on their employee appreciation days. That kind of accessibility has boosted morale when we’re there, because now people are intrigued to see what the truck is. And then once they find out what it is and what’s in there, they want to know more about it. Not only do we carry the merchandise, but we also carry tickets. We get to inform them of all their available benefits and perks of being a Club Member. It has become an anchor location for us in the Harbor. Port of LA employees, as well as other department employees and Retirees know they can see us there every first Wednesday of the month!
The Club Truck is all about improved accessibility and flexibility. It’s dramatically more than ever, and reaching more Members than ever with the retail and insurance products they want. It’s a real game changer.
How does it advance ClubMobile? How does it advance the way the Club serves its Members?
Guadalupe: Logistically, setups are faster. What used to take us about an hour to set up now takes anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. We’re able to carry more merchandise with us, so Members have more of a variety when they’re selecting items. If we have multiple appointments in a day, we can start early in the morning with one team, and then end the day with another team. So in terms of time and availability, it’s opened up our horizons. It’s all thoughtfully designed to appreciate Members’ unwavering dedication and service.
Does this signal a new era of ClubMobile?
Guadalupe: Definitely. We’re also attending more picnics, barbecues and really fun, social events. too. We’re building a culture of Member service, a much bigger vision than just showing up for retail. And we’re proving that ClubMobile is more than just a shopping experience – it’s about providing real value for our Members. That’s why we’ve invested in quick setup times, more merchandise, and our best possible customer service. It’s a new era of ClubMobile that puts Members first.
We hope to continue setting the standard for convenience in retail and making sure our Members get the most out of their ClubMobile experience!
The Club Store Experience
Club Members miss the retail Club Store downtown, which the Club closed last year because it was costing Members too much. The truck replaces that experience and makes it better. And people don’t have to come downtown, either, to interact with the Club.
Guadalupe: Right. We maintain an anchor location for the Club Truck downtown once a month for all our downtown Members, but Members don’t have to come downtown anymore like they did with the stationary Club Store. We’re bringing that Club Store experience directly to them, more than ever. We also have anchor locations in the Valley – Topanga Canyon Street services – and at the Liberty Plaza in San Pedro.
Just yesterday someone said to us, “Wow, you carry so many things now.” I said, “Yes, it’s the full store in an amazing truck! You get the full store experience.” This Member was intrigued that we had everything stored in the Club Truck, including cabinets holding our Club drinkware, our accessories, our T-shirts. We even carry our jackets and sweaters in here. The whole Club Store is here.
A lot more than you could carry before.
Guadalupe: Definitely. We know members have different tastes, and we like to offer the opportunity to represent the City with pride and high honors!
The Club Truck is an amazing experience and we’re bringing it to Members across the City. We love that our Members can now enjoy the convenience of our truck, browsing through everything we have to offer, and picking up those items they need without having to come all the way downtown. It’s a great feeling knowing that we can provide so much for our Members in such an easy way. Plus, it helps us stay connected with them no matter where they are!
We don’t just bring along products; we also bring along a unique brand voice and messaging that resonates with Members. Our aim is to make sure everyone knows about the services, products and experiences we have available.
Members can still touch and feel the materials, and they can still meet Club staff members with a handshake, a hello and a laugh. All like they used to do at the stationery Club Store. It’s a personal connection.
Guadalupe: Absolutely. It has that personal touch and connection with our Members, and they can feel the quality of the materials. We want to provide that same high level of service that you would have at a stationary Club Store, but in a more efficient way – by bringing all our items right to your door!
Our goal is to ensure that no matter what our Members want or need from us, we will deliver it. We strive to create an atmosphere for each Member where they can trust and rely on us for whatever they may need. With our Club Truck, you get the full store experience.
And we also have new products, an added benefit. We’ve had a lot of people suggest that we sell a water flask or travel coffee mugs. We’ve been able to add those items, now that we don’t have that overhead of the old store. Not only can they touch and feel the merchandise, they can continue to get to know our team and reconnect. DeAngelo and I love catching up with Members and hearing all about their journeys while on the job. We get lots of knowledge from those stories!
The Club Truck is faster, more responsive, more accessible and more complete.
Guadalupe: All of those things. We have a lot more control over what’s in the truck, and can quickly adjust for changes. We also use technology like mobile devices for orders and point-of-sale, which makes the process smoother and faster. And our customers love it! It gives them the convenience they want while still connecting with our friendly staff members who know their needs. That’s why we believe that this new model is here to stay!
The Way People Shop Today
How is the new Club Truck a response to the way people and Club Members shop today?
Guadalupe: They look for the things they want to be available near them, or to be shipped to them. Of course we still ship directly to Members from our warehouse, but having Club Truck set locations is very important. Those are our anchor visits, in addition to our worksite visits.
Members know that they can count on us being there. They know they can meet us there, pick up their items they pre-ordered online or they can order right then and there. If they order online, they can pick it up the next day, at one of our anchor visits.
The ‘Whoa’ Factor
What kind of reactions are you getting? I heard the umpire at the recent Club Softball Tournament say, “Whoa, that’s the Club?” He was very impressed!
Guadalupe: Right! Some Members have actually asked if we’re Amazon. That was before we put the graphics on the Truck. Once we opened that door, and they saw their favorite gear, like the City classic T-shirts and hats, they said, “Wow, you guys really upped your game. You guys are here to serve us.” Within five minutes, they had the hats they wanted. They had their shirts and their sweaters, too. It’s been a happy surprise for them. Nobody saw it coming, and they’re all for it. They’re eager to see what else is going to come out of the truck as we set up. It’s that type of surprise that helps boost employee morale, especially for new employees who had no idea this type of benefit exists.
Everything behind the engine now can be operated on solar, right?
Guadalupe: Right. It’s diesel powered as far as our fuel, but when it comes to our equipment, like our hat presses and our electrical power, it’s solar powered. We have panels on the roof. That’s how we get our juice.
What’s your favorite part of it so far?
Guadalupe: The ability to drive, show up and open the door, and be ready to go. The accessibility and the service. Members don’t have to wait on us. A few years ago, we showed up with the classic ClubMobile red tent at a Sanitation yard, and Members helped us pull the bins out because of how much merchandise we had. We still love the Red Tent, but I felt like that was a disservice. We weren’t serving them, they were serving me. Now, I can just open the side door and say, “Hey, what do you need? I have it.” It’s so much easier, and they get to enjoy that moment. It’s pure service now.
The Red Tent is still part of ClubMobile, right?
Guadalupe: Absolutely. There are really windy days when we don’t use the awning on the Club Truck; we don’t want to risk it getting broken. In those cases we still set up our tent instead of the awning.
We use the Red Tent on its own, too, or in combination with the Club Truck. Sometimes we have requests for multiple visits on the same day. We use it then.
But to see the difference – last spring we had a mobile visit at the West LA Yard Sanitation Yard. When we were there last year with the Red Tent, it took us the usual hour or 90 minutes to set up. This past year, it took us about 10 minutes. We were ready to go when the gates opened; it was a game changer. The Sanitation crew was very impressed! We had more time to serve them without disrupting their schedules.
Is the new Club Truck just the beginning? Are you thinking of having more than one?
Guadalupe: That’s the dream! Nothing immediate, as we’re just implementing this one now and learning the best ways to use it. But yes, that is the dream. With so many more yards requesting us, we’ve even talked about converting our older white van into a mini-Club Truck. We could still visit Members, open the doors and simply start serving them as soon as possible.
You’re already seeing demand increase.
Guadalupe: Absolutely, we’re already seeing demand for a second truck. Like I said, nothing for sure, but the dream is out there. The demand is there for it, and it’s working.
A Truck That Celebrates
The new Club Truck has the Club motto – celebrating the work and lives of public service employees – written on the side. How does it celebrate their lives?
Guadalupe: We focus on their requests, their needs and their fulfillment. We get to focus on what they’re asking for – the apparel they wear on the job and outside of the job. A lot of people have enormous pride that they work for the City, and that’s where we come into play, giving them the resources that they can use to show that pride.
I met an employee last year, and he said, “I just passed work probation, and I kept telling myself I wasn’t going to buy any City merchandise until I passed probation, because then I would feel like I was a part of the City and earned and deserved that shirt.” I was overjoyed to sell him that shirt. It meant a lot to him. He was very proud of working for the City and took his job seriously. It was very nice to be a part of that experience with him. And it just goes to show you, people really do love showing that pride on their backs with a T-shirt, or on their hat.
Hot Holiday Sellers
What do you predict is going to be a big seller this Christmas?
Guadalupe: Our hats and jackets.
It seems you can’t make enough of the customized bomber jackets for the demand.
Guadalupe: We can’t, but we do! The jackets are customizable. Members try different City seal patches for the coloring, or they’ll add their department to it.
And then secret news here: We’re getting an embroidery machine! That’s going to escalate how people can customize their jackets and hats. If they want to put their names on there; if they want to script their department on there, or their years of service, we’ll be able to do that for them. I’m crossing my fingers we’ll have the machine and the training and certifications in time, but we’ll see.
Seems like you’re entering into an era of customization. First the hats and jackets and mugs, and eventually embroidery.
Guadalupe: Yes. It’s what Members like, so that’s why we keep finding ways to offer them that customization.
Holiday Season Is Special
It sounds like 2023 is going to be a memorable holiday season for Club retail.
Guadalupe: Christmas is always great with the Club, so this upcoming season looks to be another special one. Don’t forget about the mugs, too! Remember, we offer customizable mugs. I just wrapped up an order for Mayor Karen Bass’ office – customized glasses and customized coffee mugs.
We have new products that we’ll be releasing soon, too.
Guadalupe: We have new apparel for women and kids. We also have our travel drinkware that keeps drinks nice and cold. We also have a coffee version. We have excellent new patches, too.
Tell Members about the new women’s and kid’s apparel.
Guadalupe: New, feminine colors for our classic City T-shirts. We’ve added purple, pink and a light green. And a different shade of red that people really like. We also added a kid’s version of the City Classic T’s, and also for toddlers! We’ll have those available after the holidays.
I know you have to set up for your visit now, but thanks for letting Members know all about the awesome new Club Truck. As you said, it’s a game changer.
Guadalupe: It is. Thanks for sharing my thoughts with Club Members.
Before I go, please keep an eye out for more updates on our website about all the awesome products we have coming soon. It’s going to be a great year ahead! Thanks again. Bye! •
BEHIND THE SCENES
The November photo shoot highlighting the Club Truck included the Club’s Eddie Escalona, photographer Summy Lam, Lupe Lira and, holding the reflectors, Marie and David Jamgotchian of JJLA Associates, the designers of Alive!.