From migratory food trucks to vintage boutiques run out of Airstream trailers, Fayetteville citizens can expect to see local businesses-on-wheels sticking around, and this time, for longer.
The Fayetteville City Council unanimously approved changes to the city’s mobile vendor law Tuesday. The new law will allow vendors to stay in one location for twice as long before either moving on or requesting a permit renewal.
William Carr, the owner of the food truck W&S BBQ, said the extended permit time will be crucial. Without it, “it’s not even worth it for me to have my business,”he said. Carr said the three month permits allowed by the old law were too restrictive.
“By the time people figured out where I was, I had to move again,” he said.
Now that Carr has been assured a six month stay at an approved location, he plans to take his trailer to Dickson Street to tap into the local college crowd.
Changes to the mobile vendor law also included protections for brick and mortar business owners who have raised complaints about what they deem the unfair advantages of migratory businesses. The new law prohibits mobile vendors from setting up across from a storefront business selling the same product.
This clarification will protect owners of restaurants like Kentucky Fried Chicken, who complained to the city last year about Fricken’ Chicken, a fried-chicken-on-wheels operation that sat across the street.
Despite controversy, many citizens have said the mobile vending movement in Fayetteville is a positive addition to the city.
Elizabeth Sharp, an employee of Nightbird Books on Dickson, said a food truck across the street actually increased the bookstore’s business.
“We share customers,” Sharp said. “The people who go there for food come in here to look at books.”
Mobile vending has also proven to be an important tool for those hoping to make the leap to owning a storefront. For many, a business-on-wheels is the halfway house that leads to a brick and mortar location.
Cynthia Morris is the landlord of The Yacht Club on College Avenue, a piece of property that hosts six mobile vendors operating out of 126-SF trailers.
“A lot of my vendors that come on want to grow up to be brick and mortar,” Morris said. “And at the end of six months, a lot of them have already made it.”
With cheaper rent and a startup that doesn’t require massive collateral, the idea of mobile vending has attracted a very particular crowd in Fayetteville.
Evan Savell, property manager of The Yacht Club, said mobile business owners are almost exclusively younger.
“The college is breeding so many young entrepreneurs that don’t have any collateral,” Savell said. “Mobile vending is an opportunity for them to open up a door and see if anybody will walk in. If they do fail, they’re not losing that much."