All You Need is Love: The Peach Truck
It all started with a piece of fruit.
Story illuminates opportunities. Story shows you the way from idea to execution to exponential growth.
That’s exactly what story has done for Stephen Rose, who, with his wife, Jessica, owns The Peach Truck – a household name in Nashville that’s becoming a lifestyle brand throughout the Southeast.
Stephen built his business from the beginning with story in mind. He’s never lost sight of what got him started, and, in this story, we dive deeper into how Stephen’s approached a traditional market with an untraditional, yet not necessarily revolutionary, approach.
It’s a story of growth, success, and personal freedom. All centered around a simple piece of fruit.
THIS IS A LOVE STORY
For Stephen and Jessica, this is less of a business story – not so much a peach story, but very much a love story. One that begins when a boy from “way down in Georgia fell in love with a girl from way up north”. But before we dive into their story, and how The Peach Truck came to be, maybe it’s best to start with the farm and the fruit.
There’s an old adage that says, “Georgia grows gold on their trees”. Having tasted many, many fresh Georgia peaches in my day, I can’t argue with that. There’s something uniquely distinct about the size, quality, and flavor of the fruit grown within those state lines.
The Pearson Farm, where The Peach Truck peaches begin their journey, is a 130 year-old peach and pecan farm that’s passed through five generations. It was the first farm in Georgia to receive what’s known as the GAP, or Good Agricultural Practices, certification. To clarify, for you non-peach-nerds like me, their peaches are grown with water-saving drip irrigation systems and a minimal use of pesticides. Each peach is allowed to ripen naturally on the tree before it’s carefully inspected and, yes, you guessed it, handpicked.
A commitment to this process and a passion for sustainable farming are what’s kept them going since the late 1800’s, and what’ll keep them growing, pun intended, well into the future. Always fresh. Always juicy. Always delicious.
You get it, their peaches are really, really ridiculously good. Derek Zoolander good. Almost. Not quite. Ok, absolutely.
BEAUTY LIES IN SIMPLICITY
I tell you all of this because it’s important that our story starts and ends with the peach – in this case – the product. A simple product that a thriving business is built upon.
An intentional process. A history that transcends generations. A commitment to excellence. A really high-quality product. These are the ingredients of any strong brand. Without a good product, all of the marketing and branding and campaigns and sexy design mean absolutely nothing.
I mentioned this is a love story. The Peach Truck is a story of Stephen and Jessica falling in love and moving to Nashville, Tennessee, and their collective desire to share everything they loved about the South. Hot summers. Front porches. Fresh peaches.
As a Nashville-native, myself, I can verify that nearly every home in the south comes complete with a front porch, and, if you’re lucky, a porch swing. As for the hot summers, don’t remind me. I’m way behind on my 60-day bikini body workout plan.
After moving here, Stephen and Jessica quickly learned that peaches, at least, really good, big, rich, juicy peaches, were nowhere to be found. Nashville had a fever, and the only prescription was Pearson Farm Peaches.
It wasn’t long before Stephen and Jessica traded in their car for an old Jeep truck, one that’s become iconic throughout the streets of Nashville over the years, and started sharing the sweet nectar with the Nashville community. Nashville quickly embraced The Peach Truck with open arms – consuming over 10 tons of delicious peaches in just the first five weeks. Since then, they’ve rapidly, and I mean rapidly, grown locally, regionally, and nationwide. Shipping peaches to peach-lovers in all 50 states. Here in Nashville, simply keeping up with the peach-crazed community is a monumental challenge of its own.
Earlier, I mentioned that The Peach Truck has approached a traditional market with an untraditional, yet not necessarily revolutionary, approach. And this is, perhaps, where the story gets most interesting.
If you’re reading this, you’ve most likely made a trip to your local farmers market. Put yourself there for a moment. It’s a warm, early summer morning. The air is sticky with humidity and there’s a quiet buzz as visitors wander about the produce stands picking out a perfectly ripe avocado, chatting about freshly canned strawberry jam, and biting into a crisp golden delicious apple. You may know Tom, a farmer you’ve bought strawberries from for the past ten years. Or maybe Sarah, who’s been your source of squash and zucchini.
How do you know one piece of fruit from the next? What makes Farmer Tom a better option than Farmer Sarah? What’s the product differentiation? Why pay $2.00 for one when you can pay $1.00 for another?
THE POWER OF STORY
That’s what The Peach Truck has done so remarkably well. They’ve approached what is more or less a simple commodity – a piece of fruit – with strong storytelling and unique positioning.
In fact, in the early-goings, they weren’t at the local farmer’s market at all. The first place they parked their Jeep was in front of Imogene and Willie, a custom jean and apparel company that calls an old auto-service station home. Along the way they’ve aligned themselves strategically and organically with some of Nashville’s best local brands – coffee shops, restaurants, and retailers. Peach pie. Tacos with peach salsa. Cocktails with a peach garnish. Millions of peaches. Peaches for me.
The Peach Truck, before ever setting up next to the competition at a traditional market, built a name for themselves, created a lifestyle brand, and defined a unique experience by aligning themselves with equally passionate and committed brands.
In my work with businesses and organizations at my company, Proof, I regularly tell clients that you’re not going to be the only brand to do what you do. Everything has been done before. And whether you’re selling peaches or selling a creative service like design, we live in a commoditized world. You can always get it cheaper and faster. There are dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of alternatives to what you provide.
But what you have that no one else has is you. You are what makes your brand unique. Your process. Your story. Your soil. Your state lines. The Peach Truck has Stephen and Jessica. They have fresh, juicy, hand-picked, delicious peaches from The Pearson Farm. They have an old jeep that’s become iconic to us locals, as we follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in search of where they’ll park next.
They have love. Love for each other. Love for peaches. Love for community.
This love, passion, commitment, and quality shines through in everything The Peach Truck does. From the handshake you’ll get when you buy a sack of peaches to the beautiful photography on their Instagram account. They “get it”. It’s clear that their brand is more than a piece of fruit– it’s a way of life.
The Peach Truck has proven and continues to prove that a small piece of fruit can have a big impact. Always fresh. Always juicy. Always delicious.
And all you need is love.