In the early days of the pandemic, when just about everything was shut down including his food truck business, Glen Wilson had a few restless nights.
“I went to bed. And I don’t know how to explain it, but I wrestled in a dream,” he says. "A physical wrestle. I did this for three nights. So I got up the next night, the third night, and I told my wife, ‘well, I think I need to do something.’”
What he did was change his life and the lives of many other people in Charlotte and Sarasota Counties.
Wilson’s story is part of our SWFL Reinvented series. We spotlight local small business owners who started with nothing or overcame a great obstacle to find success. And now during the economic fallout of the pandemic, we are telling stories about how they’re working to keep their businesses going.
Wilson has been in the food truck business for two years. Before that, he was a touring musician.
“I started when I was 14 years old with Billy Ocean and Melissa Morgan,” he says. He played bass and drums for several big-name acts.
“Maxwell, I played with After 7,” he says. "I played a lot with R&B groups.”
And a few years back, he hung it up. He moved to SWFL to retire and be closer to his wife’s family. It was around that time that a friend introduced him to sliders, and planted the idea in his head to start a business.
“I didn’t want to do the restaurant thing. I didn’t want to be in debt. So what I did was buy me a trailer and went for it,” Wilson says.
That’s how the Mini City food truck was born. Instead of R&B, now Wilson makes wraps and brisket. His specialties are sliders, though, and he has several different options, from burgers to fish to chicken to BBQ.
Then in March, the pandemic hit. And it shut everything down. That’s when Wilson had trouble sleeping and he told his wife he thought he needed to do something.
“And I think it’s bigger than me,” he told her. "And I said, you know, 'Lord if it’s your will, you’ll provide.’ And he’s been providing ever since.”
Wilson reinvented his business to give people free food. Every day he makes about 150 meal boxes that he gives out to children around Englewood and Port Charlotte.
“I’m also feeding police officers, first responders, post office, and the list goes on,” he says.
Plus, two times a month he makes dinner for anyone who needs it. Saturday, June 20, he’s taking it a step further. He’s setting up his truck at the corner of Dearborn and S. McCall in Englewood at 8 AM to make free breakfast for anyone who needs it. Then at 11, he’ll switch to making lunch and he’ll serve that until all the food is gone.
“It’s a higher power, man,” he says. "It don’t make any sense, but I still do it, I still love it. When you see a child light up, that is something you can’t get back.”