Saturday, September 1, 2012

Brick & Mortar Stores Air Their Views

Food Truck Night (FTN) in the “small” town of Sunland has taken on an amazing number of opponents and proponents since its unheralded start at the behest of the Sunland Tujunga Chamber of Commerce a few months ago; Facebook pages by the score, blog posts, and news agencies large and small: report every nuance of its daily activity.

Most surprising in their determined stand are the opponents to FTN. Opponents are a quiet and stubbornly persuasive lot (consisting of brick and mortar store owners and their followers) and their message is being heard. They will not ‘yield the floor’! Councilman Alarcon has again arranged a meeting between six Brick and Mortar store owners (who object to FTN) and six members of the Sunland Tujunga Chamber of Commerce (who organized the event and support it).

This meeting, held a couple of nights ago afforded representatives from “both sides” of the argument to hear and be heard by those expected to carry the message of the meeting back to their side, and to the community. The community of Sunland Tujunga is unrepresented in these meetings and is the only group held captive to decisions affecting them without a voice in the matter apart from Facebook.

One of the most respected members of the brick and mortar stores told Brock Baj’er that the primary negotiation points are the location for the food trucks and the number of times a month they appear. Surprisingly, the complete discontinuation of the food trucks is not an issue! This contradicts the many heated arguments on community Facebook pages which (not surprisingly, since they have no representative to inform them) are unaware that argument is no longer discussed as a main point.

Many merchants including my source have conceded the influx of customers to FTN is making more residents and outsiders aware of the community and the businesses that are always here, not just on Food Truck Nights. They appreciate this marketing potential but, “every week, every week, every week… is just too much: too much traffic, too much stress, too much loss of revenue,” this restaurant owner explains. “Customers spend their dollars at food trucks every Wednesday, I loose customers Tuesdays and Thursdays too because they spent their money at FTN on Wednesdays. The whole week, every week, my business is affected.”

My source reports: the likely outcome of these meetings will be a reduction in the number of times a month the food trucks are allowed to sell in ST and the favored location being discussed is Sunland Park, not Foothill Blvd. This would reportedly satisfy many members of both sides and community response remains to be heard.

3 comments:

UK78ALUM said...

"Customers spend their dollars at food trucks every Wednesday, I loose customers Tuesdays and Thursdays too because they spent their money at FTN on Wednesdays." I am literally astonished that an established restaurant owner would make this statement. The problem is NOT the trucks, the problem is that a competitor is serving a product that the consumers prefer over yours! It could just as easily be another brick and mortar store next to yours - and then what would you do? Ask them to only be open on certain days?

Brock Ba'jer said...

Thank you for your community input UK78ALUM however, before a brick and mortar store is accepted it is subject to rules including proximity to comparable existing merchants, numbers of similar stores in the community and more. The Food Trucks are not subject to such rules.

Leanne Snyder said...

I am sorry I have a hard time agreeing with your statement "before a brick and mortar store is accepted it is subject to rules including proximity to comparable existing merchants, numbers of similar stores in the community and more." I guess those rules don't apply to cigarette stores and pot shops.