A few weeks ago, food photographer Ally Voner and graphic designer Chris Boudrow drove their converted school bus through the White Mountains of New Hampshire with no plan of a final destination. The Blog Bus had been years in the making. Voner and Boudrow’s longtime dream came to fruition last Christmas Eve with the purchase of a vintage school bus. After six months of automotive labor, nothing compared to the feeling of finally hitting the open road.
“I really like it when I’m sitting on the bench,” Voner says, “When we’re driving and we turn—with all the windows open—it’s an ‘oh my God’ moment.” She likens the feeling to that of a subway car winding down the tracks.
Voner and Boudrow arrived in Worcester three weeks into their journey, prepared to pitch restaurants and breweries ripe for change. With many years of hospitality experience and an arsenal of marketing skills between the two of them, the couple had become something of a traveling PR agency. The mission was simple: find a new city, compile a list of establishments in need of a reboot, send out some introductory post cards, zero in on new businesses, and repeat.
“I think one of the biggest things is that we had a stint working at a fine dining restaurant and it really put a bad taste in our mouths, not necessarily the job itself, but just the way that company in particular was run,” Voner recalls. “They kept growing to the point where they were buying hotels left and right and they were turning themselves into this big hospitality group.” Boudrow felt like the whole operation was growing impersonal. It was time to start calling their own shots.
Voner always has her camera in hand. When it comes to restaurant marketing, photos are everything. Voner’s blog, Good Bites & Glass Pints showcases a keen eye for detail and a passion for making small pubs and eateries shine. “I really wanted my voice to come through and I didn’t want stuffiness in my writing,” she says.
Boudrow hopes that their home grown platform can overshadow the antiquated constructs of sites like Yelp and Tripadvisor. “Bad reviews sit there and bring down the score,” he explains, adding, “One bad review can negate seven good ones and stay up at the top. Then, they’ll take your money in order to get rid of the bad review.”
Voner and Boudrow intend to change the narrative from the comfort of their Blog Bus. The hardest part of working and living out of a school bus is not the confined space so much as the lack of a shower. The couple is excited to head south where beaches and outdoor amenities abound.
Inside the bus, everything has its secure place. Tucked into drawers, inlets, and corners are the makings of an entire screen printing studio.”I like how I can grab everything within an arm’s reach,”Boudrow says. “I have orangutan arms.” He reaches out his arms to demonstrate an impressive wingspan; it feels like the whole country is at his fingertips.