The Trixie’s Treats Truck is now operating around Allentown, and I’m as stoked about the LV getting its first food truck as Megan Beste is.
I’ll try to get a hold of them today to ask about what the process was like for clearing their mobile business with the city, and share that on here.
Allentown’s mobile vendor regulations aren’t the worst, nowhere near as bad as Bethlehem’s, but there’s still some anti-competitive crap in there. It’s illegal for Trixie to sell her baked goods within a 2 block radius of another bakery on Hamilton Street. That’s not a problem now, but if somebody opened a brick-and-mortar bakery on Hamilton close to where the new office buildings will be, Trixie would be forced to park pretty far away from downtown’s biggest customer base. Mexican food trucks couldn’t do business right in the core downtown either since the Brew Works guys opened the burrito place.
Anti-competitive laws like this cut against a city’s economic development efforts. What Allentown and the other LV cities need to do is promote new business development and a competitive food service market, not protect incumbent businesses from competition. Many mobile vendors tend to go on to become brick and mortar restaurants, so a very loose mobile vendor policy is a great way to let people test out food business ideas on the cheap before they go all-in on a traditional storefront.
I’ve said it before, but Allentown’s greatest untapped resource is the Latino community’s wealth of family recipes that could fuel an amazing ethnic food cluster. This is already happening, but lowering the barriers to entry and actually helping more mobile businesses open would really accelerate the progress.