PITTSFIELD, Mass. - Business owners in downtown Pittsfield are running into some new challenges this summer: Food trucks parked in front of their storefronts.
Some business owners have complained food trucks block their store fronts from customers who may be driving through the downtown area.
Joe Mele has been running the New Berry Place on North Street for three years now. He says he's invested into the city of Pittsfield for quite some time, having owned two businesses downtown. But this summer he tells the NEWS CENTER he's been running into some problems with food truck vendors setting up right in front of his store.
"Competition is great and that's not a problem, but they have the advantage, where we don't in terms of cost, flexibility," Mele says. "For them to take away our customers, it's not a fair way to do it."
Ernie Jordan, a street vendor who has been running his cart since 1989, also says he's run into issues with the food trucks.
Business owners say this hasn't been an issue until this summer. They say there needs to be an equal playing field.
For street vendors, Jordan says it's a rule they must set up at least 22 feet away from a doorway or store front. However, the city does not currently have any rules food trucks need to follow other than they must buy permits to park along city streets.
Pam Tobin, Executive Director of Downtown Pittsfield, Inc., a membership organization that works on the revitalization of downtown, says she has submitted a petition to the city's common council to put regulations into place for food truck owners.
"We encourage food trucks to participate. We know it's a growing trend. But we want to make sure if you have a food truck, let's look at potential areas we can put you in," Tobin said. "Let's put a regulation in place so it benefits everyone."
The petition will go before the Ordinance and Rules Committee sometime in August and store owners say they will be there to make their voices heard.