Why food trucks are banned in Maplewood, briefly

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A food truck sells at a Maplewood event.

Food trucks had a 6-month trial in Maplewood from November 2012 to April 2013, and have not returned. The question came up when Pie Oh My unveiled a truck to use in places other than Maplewood.

A food truck sells at a Maplewood event.
A food truck sells at a Maplewood event.” credit=”Doug Miner, Patch.com 

Maplewood City Council approved food trucks to operate at Deer Creek and Sunnen Business Park for six months only, and had little impact. The Maplewood Chamber of Commerce and several individual businesses came out in opposition in several council meetings.

Jimmy John’s owners said they noticed a drop in business when a food truck had set up for lunch at Sunnen. Co-owner, Rollie Conner, said, “We took a heck of a chance coming here five years ago. Food trucks have zero skin in the game,” he said. “We have $300,000 invested.”

Ward 3 Councilman Barry Greenberg, in a statement on Maplewood-Brentwood Patch, said food trucks would need a location that doesn’t cause parking and safety issues, “but most of all, does not cannibalize customers from our established, permanent restaurants.”

Ward 1 Councilman David Cerven said a food truck event at a city park might work, but it’s important to level the playing field so food truck operators don’t have an economic advantage over the brick and mortar businesses.

Post Sports Bar co-owner, Adrian Glass was opposed, and said, “I don’t perceive food trucks being able to garner enough business out of Sunnen Business Park for them to remain in Maplewood all that long.”

Only one food truck obtained a license in the six months, and visited Sunnen Business Park on some weekdays during lunch.

Cerven said this week that the ban would remain unless a food truck owner with an interest approached the city to start the approval process again.

A food truck bill was considered in Brentwood Board of Aldermen meetings in October and November 2013 but was not passed.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I think the city council needs to consider what the citizens want, not only brick and mortar business owner’s opinions. We need to have a “trial run” when food trucks would actually get some business (i.e. in better weather). And Jimmy John’s is a national company, why do they get such a large say in what happens in our community?

    • I imagine that with their advertising and tasty food, that they generate a great deal of revenue. That means that they pay more taxes to Maplewood. Also, it isn’t some guy in a business building in New York that actually runs the place. It’s a person like you and me. I think that a summer trial run would be a good idea.

  2. I said what I said from what I think that I think that I would say if I had a business in a building.
    Your point about the winter not being the best time for a trial run, especially the cr*ppy winter that we just had, is definitely a good point.
    In the end, I guess that is up to the Board of Aldermen and the Mayor. I hope that what they end up voting for is the best for everyone.

  3. So, according to the town, in order to get some “skin in the game” you… what? Already have to have skin in the game? Have to be a brick and mortar store? Not be allowed to compete with other similar businesses? What if another restaurant wanted to come into the neighborhood? Would the answer be, “Sorry, pal, already got enough restaurants here…”?

    New businesses start up all the time. Competition is a good thing for a community, it gives people more choices.

    Also, winter was probably NOT the best time to have a trial run on food carts.

    • The original post said, “Maplewood allowed food trucks at Sunnen Business Park and the Deer Creek Center for six months only.” What if they had been allowed to operate on Manchester Road and ”brick and mortar” business went UP !

      Medium sized city, small town thinking.

  4. There are several food businesses in the deer creek shopping center. A couple of pizza places and mccalisters. When these folks invested their money in that location, they didn’t know that the rules would change. If they did, they might not have opened business’ there.
    Places with good, established business’ like The Post, may not suffer, but the smaller start-ups could suffer. The Maplewood chamber of commerce owes their allegiance to the property owners in Maplewood.

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