ISO One Man Meat-Fish-Market-Truck
A family that is originally from Japan lives across the street from us. A big dark green stepvan pulls up in front of their house once a week - I don't recall the day, but I'll ask them about it when I see them.
These stepvans, known as "sakanaya-san," (fish store man) and "yasaiya-san" produce store man) used to be very commonplace until (probably around) the mid-80s. The generation of Japanese immigrants that came here after WWII created a huge demand for fresh seafood and meat as well as produce specific to the Japanese diet but the wives were stuck at home being housewives and mothers, and many of them did not drive as well. Thus, the sakanaya-san (mainly seafood but some meat and grocery items) and the yasaiya-san (vegetables, fruits, and some grocery items) came into being. As the families grew up and the wives learned to drive, they became more independent. Along with this, markets catering to the Japanese became more commonplace, offering similar goods that competed directly with the "sakanaya-san" and "yasae-san," which ultimately led to the demise of most of these mobile specialty vans.
I know their products aren't cheap - they have no cost or volume advantages that is then compounded by the fact that gas ain't cheap. I think their remaining customer base is a loyal aging customer base who probably feel a strong kinship with the sakanaya-san for old times sake (loyalty runs very deep in the old country). My guess would be that the sakanaya-san also carries a few choice cuts that would command a premium as well.
I'll try to gain some info for you. These vans will regularly come through certain parts of town on specified days. If you're in a neighborhood with Japanese senior citizens who have lived there for quite a while, then I can almost guarantee that the van makes a visit some time during the week...