As a long-standing merchant in Arroyo Grande, I am very concerned about the city’s tolerance and policies of street vendors within the city limits. This past Valentine’s Day weekend, there were many people set up on random corners throughout the city selling fresh flowers. I realize the city issued permits to these vendors, but I find it irresponsible and reprehensible. It is a slap in the face that this was allowed to happen, on what should be a busy time for merchants who spend all year supporting Arroyo Grande’s economy by paying taxes and creating jobs. These people are allowed to set up shop for one or two days, collecting money and paying no sales tax. They take money away from legitimate businesses and are not seen again until the next holiday.
Santa Maria was so affected by this same problem a few years ago, they passed a law outlawing vendors of any kind. I urge Arroyo Grande to follow suit. Growers sell at farmers’ markets every day of the week. It simply isn’t fair for them to vend on street corners as well. In this economy, it is especially important to protect the small businesses we have in our city.