On March 1, Green Street Vault ran into some disappointing road blocks – for us, as well as our customers. We were given Boston City citations for Occupying City Property “without permits.” When Howard and I started this business seven months ago, we had done our due diligence, and made sure we carried all the proper permitting before hitting the streets.
We were initially told all we needed were “Hawker’s and Peddler’s” licenses, so that’s what we have; but according to these City citations we were issued, we’re missing permits… that actually don’t exist within city legislature.
After inquiring further with multiple departments in City Hall, we have discovered that GSV technically operates in a “grey area,” given that our business transactions occur inside the truck, not on the street. The City thus considers GSV to be a “Hawker and Peddler,” grouped with pushcarts selling $5 sunglasses and Roasted Nuts. Not that there is anything wrong with that by any means, we are just clearly a very different business.
So as of March 1, 2012, the City is no longer letting Green Street Vault park in Back Bay or anywhere Downtown until we reach a compromise, because the Back Bay and Downtown areas are a “restricted zone” for Hawkers and Peddlers.
We have been making headway, but are at a standstill with the City. We are patiently waiting and abiding by the City’s laws by vending outside of their “restricted vending zone” until a meeting can be set with City officials to determine our status.
However, we need to get through to the mayor now. We need to let him know that GSV is an innovative local business that the public wants to see stay open; and that Boston is the home of innovative, entrepreneurial businesses supported by our local government.
GSV is a Boston business – we were created in the incubator of Emerson College and our creative concept has been met with tremendous media and consumer enthusiasm, highlighting that the American philosophy of business innovation is alive and well. We are 100% supportive of Mayor Menino’s position for innovation in Boston. Allowing us to continue to do what we do best will only help push the agenda for innovation forward!
Dear Mayor Menino,
I am emailing in support of Green Street Vault. I have been a loyal customer and fan of Green Street Vault since I first saw the rolling retail truck in Boston last summer. Green Street Vault and its innovative concept to sell Boston-based apparel brands from a truck is an amazing example of creative business development here in Boston. Although our town has food trucks, a retail truck is an exciting and much valued addition to the retail scene here in the City – and the fact that the truck was developed right here in Boston in Emerson College’s Entrepreneurship Program is an even greater credit to our City and it’s supportive business environment.
It has come to my attention that Green Street Vault is being challenged on its right to sell merchandise from its truck, in Downtown Boston, Back Bay, and its surrounding areas. This is quite upsetting to me, especially given the fact that Green Street Vault had obtained proper permitting from the City, and carries local products that I can’t find at any store in Boston. Now in question is if the City has any permitting which addresses the issues of “rolling retail,” and I ask your timely inquiry into this issue so Boston can continue in its stellar reputation of being a business friendly town and the home of national – and international — innovation.
I urge you to consider the following:
1. Create a special permit or license that allows clothing trucks to exist in Boston, differentiated from “Hawkers and Peddlers.” The number of trucks that operate should be limited, as the food trucks are.
2. Designate a special parking spot or area for retail trucks in the Back Bay and Downtown areas, especially Newbury and Boylston Streets and Downtown Crossing. Green Street Vault attracts tourists and out-of-towners, as well as provides a distinct service to Bostonians. Retail trucks are a new business trend with tremendous merit; it’s time to distinguish them from other vendors and create their own designation, place of business, and permitting.
Thank you for your time, I appreciate your consideration.