- Category: Volume 88 (Fall 2016 - Spring 2017)
- Published: 19 April 2017
- Written by ZACHARY KARVELAS | STAFF WRITER
Vincent Gulino, the owner of New Jersey food truck, Try Vegan, has made a huge splash in the mobile food industry. What started out as dream once never thought to become reality, became more than just a job. Gulino has been serving smiles and a positive, can-do attitude, oh and some of the most delicious vegan food you can get on the road, for over four years. Soon after he finished college at Rowan University, he became a manager of a Walmart, working a busy and physically trying schedule. “It is really something that wears on their soul. One week you’re handing them [employees] paychecks, the next you have to fire them” said Gulino.
After a few years at Walmart, he moved on to a job at one of the supermarket giants at a higher-paying and even more stressful and busier managerial position. Gulino found himself working six days a week with “optional” weekends that he realized weren’t as optional as they made it out to be. Again, Gulino found himself stuck at a terrible job he did not enjoy wondering why life was full of such grim and unhappy times. Was this what everyone works towards and thinks success is?
After earning himself a week-long break, Gulino was overlooked for a business positon, which was his focus of studies while at Rowan, because he was “not office trained.” He couldn’t even come close to understanding what that could even mean. “I was so torn down and broken” he said. During that time, Gulino received some advice and encouragement from a guy he had just met that will forever change his life. After telling this man about the positon he had failed to get, Gulino began to describe his idea for a vegan restaurant. It was a dream he had had many times before, but never really knew how to chase. Well, this guy motivated and inspired Gulino to stop being miserable at a job he didn’t enjoy and to chase the dream that would make him happy. That very night, Try Vegan was born.
“It just hit me like a ton of bricks” said Gulino.
He spent the rest of his time securing all the necessary details to begin creating the foundation for the food truck. Gulino quickly wrapped everything together and formed the LLC, trademarked the name, and began drafting the business plan for Try Vegan.
He got the vegan inspiration from his girlfriend at the time who lived an active vegetarian lifestyle. At twenty-one years old, Gulino became lactose intolerant. He did what most people do these days and get the infamous Lactaid pill that allows you to still enjoy delicacies like wonderfully-melted cheese or that shameful half-tub of Ben & Jerry’s Chunky Monkey. Eventually, the pill’s effects began to wear off and he was forced to rid dairy from his diet completely. After already cutting out such a huge part of animal-based products, he chose to try cutting them all out including meat and eggs.
After a couple of days, Gulino already noticed the difference. He began to wake up feeling refreshed, thinking clearer, and even noticed his skin looking and feeling better. It was the best he had ever felt. Senior social work student Mariel Acevedo said “his passion for getting the food truck started and all the obstacles he had to jump over, it really moved me to try and eat more vegan options, and try to cut out more animal based products in my life. I’ve been a pescatarian for a couple of months now, but maybe one day in the future I’ll be able to go completely vegan.”
By the time he got back to work, he knew what his next step would be. He waited until he had his next two-week vacation, carefully planned it in April, and set himself up to depart from the supermarket giant. As the time rolls around, Gulino spent all his time fine-tuning the business plan and getting ready to put his brand out there for the world. The only thing he needed, which he couldn’t get started without, was money. The hunt for investors began.
Gulino’s faith in the universe and in his pursuit for happiness was restored on the last day of break when he discovered his neighbor coincidentally knew someone selling two short buses that fit the bill for his vegan restaurant idea, but in a smaller and more affordable way. “This universe will open its path for you, if you just do it,” he said.
By the time his two-week break was over, he had found the trucks, had his business plan, quit his job at the supermarket, and focused all his energy on Try Vegan.
After Gulino got the first truck up and going, he began to apply to music festivals and events throughout New Jersey. While still learning along the way, the truck quickly became a hit on the streets of the garden state. As time went on, he began going to more festivals like Electric Adventure and Governor’s Ball, and events at Laurita Winery and Central Jersey Beer Festival. The food and great service from Gulino and his hardworking friends have left an impact throughout the state.
Vincent Gulino and chef ,Sean Mcmonagle, appeared at the Monmouth University club, Plants For Peace, vegan potluck event on April 2, 2017. At the last event of the semester, Gulino gave an incredible walk through his life and story and inspired many to chase their dreams and believe in themselves. Senior public relations student Ayse Yasas said “I thought Vincent was pretty inspirational and made me freak out less about graduating because his story about how he got his food truck made me realize that you can change your life at any point and do something you never intended on doing.”
Currently, Gulino has his second food truck ready to hit the streets this week, a small eatery inside of a Gold’s Gym, and owns two other companies. Coast to Coast Custom Prints is a spiritual based clothing company that initially began as a way for Gulino to market Try Vegan, but then realized he wanted to use it for more than just printing his own business apparel. The company can do most custom prints on hats, t-shirts, sweaters, and more.
Gulino’s ideal future is to put some of his food in stores and to have cooking classes, but for now he is happy running the streets here in Jersey. “In order to get to where you need to go, you need to know you can get there,” he said. After what he has accomplished in the last couple of years on his own, there is no doubt that he will.