Meet Arrow the Airstream!
Arrow is the real life manifestation of a dream that started in the summer of 2019. Over some deli sandwiches at a diner along I-75, our dream was born. We were going to get our storefront that we have always wanted, AND we were going to get the Travel Trailer we’ve always wanted. But could we do both with one trailer? And how big would it have to be? After months of searching, we found her waiting for us to add our mark on her 47 year history. Arrow is a 22’ 1973 Airstream Safari that now lives as a mobile marketplace that helps us share our ‘life inspired’ products with the world. And we couldn’t be more proud of how she turned out! But it wasn’t easy, and it wasn’t always pretty.
With the excitement of chasing our dreams and our kids over to moon, we towed Arrow across Tampa Bay to her new home in Valrico, FL. She sure was pretty, shining in the hot Florida sun. Her polished aluminum skins were hypnotizing to us. But we didn’t know the first thing about owning a travel trailer or running a store front. I didn’t even know how to empty the tanks, or if it even had tanks! We were that green. But we had a dream, and we had vision, and we had each other.
In order to meet both dreams of store and family fun, a good design was the foundation for a successful conversion. Without it, one or the other would suffer. Funny thing about designing, especially for yourself, it’s never really finished. Analysis paralysis is what I call it. So Arrow is still evolving and changing as we use her more. But to start, we had a list of features that we wanted for both uses. But a storefront and a family travel trailer have vastly different needs and uses. So how do we blend the two? Is it even possible? And where are these tanks anyway? Well this how we started.
For the storefront, we wanted a bright, open, airy space that was flooded with natural light and wide open spaces. But it’s only 7’ 6” wide and 22’ from hitch to bumper. The rear bathroom needed to stay for family use. That doesn’t leave a lot of room for displays and people to move around. So we came up with a convertible space that features removable display tables over the wheel wells, a convertible bench in the nose and a sales counter that hides a mini fridge with storage behind it. New low voltage LED lighting to highlight our products and work space as well as USB outlets and 110v conventional outlets. New vents in the roof will help with ventilation and let in some (albeit minimal) natural light. All of this will get a heavy coat of white paint to aide in the bright airy feeling. Simple right?
For the family use, we also wanted the bright open space for our family of 4. But we needed to have privacy when we needed it. We needed to accommodate 4 people’s sleeping arrangements, as well as a common space for family to enjoy on the rainy days where outside space isn’t really on option. It is Florida after all, we set our watches in the summer by the 3pm rain showers. So we came up with a convertible front bench in the nose of the trailer that pulls out to a queen bed. That will get an air mattress because storing a queen sized bed in this trailer is not an option. The sales counter will pivot along the wall to give us counter space, storage and a mini fridge. The wheel wells, one deeper than the other, will double as couches with storage. The girls beds will be sort of like a hammock, or more accurately an army medical stretcher that can be rolled up and stored in the bench.
That’s not too much to ask for a small space like an airstream is it? We didn’t think so! Oh, and we are going to do all of the work ourselves! Yikes. But like I said earlier, we had a dream, we had a vision and we had each other. So if you are in the Valrico area, give us a visit! We would love to share Arrow’s journey with you and add you to her story.
Carrie and Joe
The Cottonseed Marketplace
Follow Arrow as we grow and evolve both our story and Arrow’s. And don’t forget to follow your own Arrow while you’re at it!