Demand for Permits Keeps Mobile Retail Off the Runway

The rise of mobile food trucks has been heralded in many cities. Now as retail stores take to the streets, they're encountering obstacles with zoning and permitting that have befuddled their culinary brethren.

1 minute read

September 29, 2012, 7:00 AM PDT

By Andrew Gorden


Many of us have seen, or even ate, at the many food trucks that cruise around American cities. Retail trucks, selling anything from sneakers to vintage clothing, have followed the trend. But, as The Atlantic Cities' Susan Johnston reports many mobile retailers are running into issues related to licensing and permitting.

"As Boston Redevelopment Authority spokesperson Melina Schuler explains it, the only permit the city of Boston has to offer non-food mobile retailers is a highly restrictive hawker and peddlers license," reports Johnston. "'In downtown Boston between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., they cannot vend,' she says. 'Outside of those areas, they can vend but they have to move after every sale or every five minutes, whichever is less.'"

Other cities require similarly restrictive permitting, such as requiring businesses to be on pavement (as opposed to gravel surfaces).

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities

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