Landrum working on street vendor ordinance

Published 9:09pm Wednesday, October 9, 2013

A new street vendor ordinance in Landrum aims to set guidelines for entrepreneurs seeking to launch mobile businesses within Landrum city limits.

Landrum City Council members Tuesday, Oct. 8 unanimously approved the first reading of an ordinance regulating street vendors.

City Administrator Caitlin Martin said council has worked to put an ordinance in place that ensures all businesses in the community are treated fairly and that businesses are safe.

“We want it to be healthy and safe for our citizens, in addition to being friendly and inviting to new restaurants or vendors,” Martin said.

The need for an ordinance arose after Virginia Maclure began selling gourmet sandwiches, soups and desserts from her food truck Dark Corner Diner. Maclure had arranged a temporary agreement with former city administrator Steve Wolochowicz to set up along N. Trade Ave. Martin said eventually other potential vendors began asking to set up and a concrete set of rules needed to be put into place.

Maclure said she is proud of Martin and the council for moving the town forward by giving a new form of business a chance to prosper in the city.

“There are a couple of people who have talked to me who want to start a food truck and like me they really don’t want to leave the area, but a lot of things were holding them back. I really hope it starts a little bit of a wave and other people will take a chance,” Maclure said.

Once approved, the ordinance would require street vendors setting up in Landrum to submit an application to the town along with two photos of their cart or truck, a background check and a certificate indicating a passed inspection by the health department. The vendors must also purchase a business license from the town.

New regulations would also require that street vendors set up no closer than 300 feet from a similar brick and mortar business. Therefore, an individual wishing to sell flowers at Valentine’s Day couldn’t set up in front of a florist nor could a hot dog cart operate on the sidewalk in front of a restaurant.

“Mainly all of the feedback I’ve received has been positive,” Martin said. “In Landrum, most business owners, even if it is competition, are supportive. Even several business owners who own restaurants in town have called and voiced their support and said [Dark Corner Diner] needs to be allowed to operate within town.”

If officially approved, this ordinance would no longer restrict street vendors to certain areas of town though permission would have to be given in writing from any property owner where the vendor might set up.

“Technically we can only give them permission to be on city property,” Martin said. “If they want to set up on private property they are still required to get a business license and abide by all the ordinances, but then also obtain written permission from the property owner.”

As far as the city is concerned vendors will be able to set up along N. Trade Ave., in the parking lot behind city hall and in Brookwood Park.

Street vendors would pay for a business license like any other business. Those license fees are based on gross sales from the previous year.

While the city sorted out its ordinance, Dark Corner Diner has in the meantime made plans to open its own brick and mortar restaurant Tuesday through Saturday in Greer. The new restaurant will open by the end of the year.

“We’ll be in town right up until we move into the new place,” Maclure said. “ We love Landrum, but when we looked at where we received the most business, Greer was where we felt we should go. We still hope we can do Saturdays somewhere in Landrum on a regular basis once we see how many people we’ll have on staff.”

A second reading and public hearing for Landrum’s street vendor ordinance will be held at the Nov. 12 council meeting. If approved, the ordinance would go into affect immediately after the vote.

 

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