In Silicon Valley, it's not uncommon to see food trucks serving hungry tech workers. If you work here in eBay’s South campus, you've likely seen several of them lined up at noon on Greylands Drive between buildings 3 and 4.
But you might have noticed one of them is different. It’s called "Sodacraft” and they serve hand-crafted carbonated drinks. Actually, it’s not a truck, but a small trailer barely big enough for two people. Inside you'll find CEO Mark Choo and Chief Creative Officer Sara Manzler serving eBay employees who pass by.
They know employees get free soda, but they're betting we've never tasted anything like theirs. And it's not just handmade soda, but handmade specialty non-GMO popcorn (both savory and sweet flavors) and a selection of fresh bistro lunch items. You can get a meatball sandwich or gourmet lasagna to go with a homemade soda in lemon-lime, pineapple, strawberry, cola, mango, even a Shirley Temple (citrus with grenadine and a maraschino cherry).
The idea came about in 2014 as Choo and Manzler attended an Off-The-Grid event -- a community grouping of street food vendors. Friends since high school, they found themselves thinking about opening up a food truck, asking “what do we want to be stuck in a box with?”
"We were waiting in line 15 minutes to get a can of soda from food trucks and we thought that was it," said the business owners. They met a lot of people at that event and started planning next steps.
The sodas served from Sodacraft are made from scratch, with a focus on quality and craftsmanship.
"Even the ice is special," said Sara Manzler.
They spent a year just thinking about what kind of ice they wanted. It's known as "nugget" ice -- pebble-sized and granular, much smaller than the typical ice cube -- as not to detract from their carbonated concoctions. It's so special that they even call attention to this on their website: "We are equipped with the best ice machine we could find to complete the experience with perfect chewable nuggets of ice. You'll enjoy your soda to the very last drop."
After a lot of research, they were able to find that perfect ice maker on eBay. They also used eBay to get their trailer’s refrigerator.
"My first response if we need something is to check eBay," Choo said. "I have a good idea of how much things cost, and seller ratings are a huge value to me."
He also uses eBay to find Alfa Romeo car parts and Japanese toys, a collection to which he spent 15 years establishing based on one supplier store in San Francisco. When he started using eBay, he said he was able to find everything he wanted in one week.
That kind of value is something they strive to create in everything they serve at Sodacraft.
"Our ultimate end goal is for ingredients to come together to equal something greater than the whole," said Manzler.
It's a fitting quote, because it turns out that Manzler and Choo are not only friends and business partners, but are personally embarking on something greater than themselves -- marriage.
Manzler's engagement ring is a vintage Tiffany design that, yes -- Choo found on eBay.
"I can't think of a single thing eBay can't get for me," Choo said.