ROCKAWAY BEACH — A mobile boutique built out of an old pool supply truck will soon be rolling along the beach, the dream of two high school friends who hope to bring stylish designs to their hometown.
Beth Waytowich, 29, and Tara McKiernan, 30, plan to launch End of the A before the summer, parking it near concession stands, local restaurants and anywhere else they think they'll find customers in Rockaway.
It's a jump for the friends who've hitched their love of fashion and interior design to the truck.
Last year, McKiernan was working in fashion merchandise at an accessories company when she, Waytowich and a few friends decided to launch a blog, which they named End of the A.
The posts were infrequent, but the name — and their focus on fashion as well as showcasing their unique experiences living at the end of the city's longest subway line — stuck.
"Everyone has a blog, but what if we made or sold stuff?" McKiernan thought.
She researched mobile boutiques, popular on the West Coast, and last summer pitched the idea to Waytowich, who was working at an insurance company after graduating with a master's degree in communications from The New School.
Waytowich immediately hopped on board.
"I've always been into fashion and trying new, fun things," she said. "And I always wanted to work for myself — doesn't everybody?"
They continued to research the concept, getting legal and business advice from friends and connecting with accessories suppliers.
McKiernan left her job in October and they set a timeline to get the truck rolling by this summer.
"My goal the whole time was to make this a reality," McKiernan said. "This has got to be it."
They bought an old truck from a pool cleaning company, which they've gutted and plan to overhaul — painting the outside to look like a sunset and setting up the inside with floating shelves inspired by the beach, they said.
The shelves will be stocked with their selection of jewelry, art, clothing and novelty items made by designers from around the country — like Austin-based Ornamental Things and Young Hearts Designs, from California.
So far the buzz has been positive, they said.
"A lot of people reached out to us through our Instagram account," Waytowich said. "A lot of it's just through social media."
Once the truck gets rolling, they hope to team up with local businesses and restaurants, and also bring other trucks to the peninsula.
"I think locals will support it because we're local," Waytowich said. "We're not coming in for the summer and leaving."
They'll let people know where they'll be on social media and use customer feedback to order new and different things.
And once the beaches close, they might even take their truck on the road for quick trips — but won't forget their roots.
"I just really like the idea of us being able to go to events instead of being stuck in one place," McKiernan said. "We're representing the town. Let it be known that it's from Rockaway."