Who doesn't love a good sandwich? When we were getting together to decide on our January Business of the Month, we knew immediately that we wouldn't be happy campers if we didn't decide on Happy Camper Deli of Salt Lake City, Utah. Owned by Marc Singleton, Happy Camper is a mobile deli with a twist, their trucks are repurposed from old campers and horse trailers which is fun to see. Keep reading to learn more about these deelish sammies and catering.
UMLF: Tell us about yourself and your background?
Marc: I am a Utah native but grew up in California. Once given the opportunity, I moved back to Utah where I worked in clinical diagnostics for 20 years, mostly new start up companies. I have multiple advanced degrees including a Ph.D. from University of Utah Medical School. However, my real passion has been food. There is no joy in telling someone they are sick, but give someone a sandwich, the “Best Sandwich You’ll Have All Day!”, and you can make someone happy.
UMLF: What inspired you to start Happy Camper?
Marc: I have always wanted to run my own restaurant; I love food and love how it can make even the worst days better. However, despite being a good home chef, I have no culinary training. I figured I would do what I know, sandwiches. I love a good sandwich and have sought out the best I could find. It is the perfect combination of bread, meat, cheese, and veggies! So many combinations that the possibilities are endless. Everyone has their favorite sandwich, from PB and J to Philly Cheesesteak, they are all good sandwiches attached to good memories.
UMLF: Your bold claim is that Happy Camper serves “The Best Sandwich You’ll Have All Day!” Tell us what makes it the best!
Marc: The “Best Sandwich You’ll Have All Day!” slogan comes from my two loves. 1) I love sandwiches; so, we only use the freshest bread, baked daily, the best meats and cheeses, sourced locally, and fresh veggies. Even if you have another sandwich, it will not be as fresh and good as a Happy Camper Deli Sandwich. 2) I love being a dad! And dads tell “DAD JOKES”. The “Best Sandwich You’ll Have All Day!” suggests that you are unlikely to have multiple sandwiches…therefore I am right! We at the Happy Camper Deli don’t take ourselves too seriously, except for our sandwiches!
UMLF: You use cool retro trailers as your food trucks, what was the inspiration behind this?
Marc: When I decided to start a food truck I looked around for options. Food Trucks (with engines) cost a lot of money and usually have extremely high miles on them. Buying a new truck would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. I was inspired by a coffee stand in San Francisco that was built out of a horse trailer. It was stationary, however, it got me thinking, why not build my own. I bought, gutted, equipped, and restored a 1962 horse trailer as our first food truck. It is awesome, the small space made sandwich building fast and efficient 100 sandwiches per hour! However, the small trailer lacked some of the items customers wanted (i.e., grilled sandwiches and fries). Thanks to the UMLF, I purchased and retrofitted a 1962 Forester Camper with a full commercial kitchen. We have a 36-inch griddle, a large deep fryer and a commercial fridge and freezer that can hold enough supplies to serve any event.
UMLF: Every business has its highs and lows. Tell us about a challenge you faced as a small business owner and how you overcame it?
Marc: Fortunately, the Happy Camper Deli has experiences only growth prior to the Covid-19 shutdown. Our daily business relied on going to large business parks, festivals, and large gatherings to feed the masses. With the Covid shutdowns many/most of our clients have started working from home. We have attempted to shift to a delivery/pickup business plan, however, because the Happy Camper Deli is a food truck delivery and pickup options are often difficult. We have recently found new opportunities for delivery and hope that the New Year will give us the chance to continue to grow.
UMLF: How do you believe the Utah Microloan Fund has helped your business?
Marc: Without the Utah Microloan Fund, we would not have been able to build our second Food Truck. The camper food truck can serve many more people with many more options. We have been able to expand into breakfast and dinner menus. And with both the camper and trailer operating we have been able to grow our customer base significantly.
UMLF: Where can people find you?
Marc: Our daily schedule can be found at www.HappyCamperDeli.com or follow us on Facebook and Instagram for our weekly schedules. We are always accepting catering orders at www.HappyCamperDeli.com/catering
To plan you visit or to book catering visit: