Regarding the letter “Competition is healthy” (March 18), I have been a professional florist working on the Central Coast for more than 25 years. I have worked in many different shops in my career and have watched hard-working florists fight to try to keep their businesses going while every grocery store and street vendor has tried to jump on the flower-selling bandwagon.
What people do not understand is that we are professionals. Just like any other business, we take pride in our work, spend years learning our craft, and devote long hours and hard work to produce a handmade product that can be considered an art form. There is a difference between buying flowers from a florist and buying flowers from someone on the street.
Street vendors, whether selling flowers, produce, or barbecue, hurt small businesses. We need to support small businesses in our community whatever their specialties. Healthy competition means working six days every week, paying employees, supporting the local economy, buying from local flower suppliers, and paying rent and insurance. Setting up on the street for a couple of days, paying no rent, wages, insurance, or taxes is not fair and healthy competition. Such vendors simply are out to make a fast buck. I would like to see Arroyo Grande ban street vendors, as did Santa Maria.