Reporting Lisa Hughes
BOSTON (CBS) – First it was the food trucks, selling inexpensive eats all over Boston. Now some clothes lovers are taking the food truck idea and running with it. But not everyone is rolling out the red carpet for the so-called fashion trucks.
They call them the “rag wagons,” and right now the trucks owned by the Boston Sports Apparel Company are parked. “Our guys would like the freedom to go where the action is,” says Mahlon Williams who owns the company. He’d like to see his trucks on the streets, but he’s not selling any sports clothing off those trucks right now.
“When you hear a police officer say to them that they’re going to take them to jail if they sell off a truck, I’ve chosen to not put my guys in harm’s way,” he says. The problem is, it’s a gray area. There are no clear regulations when it comes to parking on a street and selling from a truck, so Williams and six other clothing vendors are asking the city to come up with a permitting process.
“To not allow mobile truck vending in any capacity is, I think, a detriment to some of the entrepreneurs in the city,” says Williams.
At least one vendor has set up shop on Newbury St. in the past, feeding the meter and taking advantage of the foot traffic and clientele. “That’s the thing we have to balance off,” says Boston Mayor Tom Menino. The Mayor says it’s a tough one, and he has to be fair. “A truck coming onto Newbury St. where a guy’s paying maybe $3,000 or $4,000 a month rent, and he’s only paying maybe $10 a day for parking? I mean, how do you justify that?” says Menino.
Right now the city is trying to figure out what to do. The truck owners say if it can work for food trucks, it can work for clothing sales.