Few mothers and daughters could stand each other for 10 or more hours a day, but Virginia Apostolopoulos and her daughter Penelope Kyriazis make it seem effortless.
“I know some people could never work with their mom or dad, but me and my mom are like best friends and it makes it easy,” said Kyriazis, co-owner of The Crepe Truck Philly.
Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis work side by side Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at The Crepe Truck Philly, churning out sweet and savory crepes for hungry customers. Located on Norris and 13th streets, the truck has given them an opportunity to strengthen their bond and create meaningful relationships with their regular customers.
Apostolopoulos and her husband bought the truck in 2013 from previous owners, she said. It was originally called The Creperie at Temple, but two years ago when they bought a new truck, Apostolopoulos decided to change the name to The Crepe Truck Philly after hearing students constantly refer to it as “the crepe truck.”
When they are not parked on Temple’s campus, Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis vend at special events, like weddings and festivals. Most weeks they do not get a single night off, Kyriazis said. Spending long days in the truck together, Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis see how hard the other person works.
“We work together all the time, so we appreciate each other even more,” Kyriazis said. “Honestly, if we didn’t have each other I feel like it would be very hard to run a business.”
For the mother-daughter duo, the opportunity to work together is especially meaningful because the rest of their family, excluding Apostolopoulos’ husband and daughter, are living in Greece and Australia, Apostolopoulos said.
Growing up with no extended family in the United States made their family even closer, Kyriazis said. The entire family still eats dinner together every night.
However, Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis have created their own family at The Crepe Truck Philly.
Chris Foley, one of the employees at the truck, has worked there for almost eight years. He has grown close with the Apostolopoulos’ and feels like he’s part of the family, he said.
The best part about working at the truck is seeing how much Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis have changed over the years, Foley said.
“It’s really cool to see their relationship,” Foley said. “I feel like they’re closer than they were for sure. [Kyriazis] will be like ‘hey mom I’ll cover your shift today, I’ll go in for you.’ It’s nice.”
Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis have also bonded with students and other family-owned food trucks around Temple’s campus.
Ezinne Azuonwu, a sophomore political science major, has been coming to The Crepe Truck Philly since she first moved to campus last year.
“I’ve ever had a bad crepe from them,” Azuonwu said. “[Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis] are really nice. They don’t rush you to order and they don’t kind of like throw your food out at you.”
Azuonwu continues to frequent the truck because she loves the 90s alternative music that the truck plays and the consistently high quality of the food, she said.
The truck has gained regular customers who take time to ask Apostolopoulos and Kyriazis how their day is going or talk about classes. One of the best parts about operating the truck is these little interactions, and the relationships that blossom from them, Apostolopoulos said.
“At the end of the day, I’m a mom and they’re around my kid’s age, so I see them as my kids too,” Apostolopoulos said.