Monday, November 14, 2005

Food Vending on the Street

An increasingly alarming problem for NYC's bodegas, green grocers, fruit stores and supermarkets is the proliferation of fruit and vegetable stands that set up directly in front of their tax-paying counterparts. These large stands, under the control of one or two wholesalers, undercut legitimate store owners and do so while violating city law. Here is an excerpt from our recent memo on the subject:

A full investigation that addresses the size and scope of food vending needs to be conducted. While most of the public attention is focused on the colorful food carts catering to New York’s lunch crowd the real threat to tax-paying bodegas, delis, green grocers and supermarkets comes from the ever expanding legion of fruit and vegetable emporiums that masquerade as food carts.

The legal definition of food vending hadn’t anticipated the proliferation of street stalls that, while they don’t pay nearly the same taxes and fees as food retailers, directly compete with over-burdened neighborhood stores. The City Council should launch an immediate investigation of the current regulations, the manner of inspection and enforcement, and the myriad codes falling under the jurisdiction of separate agencies.
Read the whole thing.