From a reader, comes this story of St. Louis so far refusing to grant a license to a woman who wants to operate a clothing sales truck (in a parallel to the growing food truck business). What is the official explanation for denying her a license? These government folks are refreshingly honest, not even bothering with the BS about consumer protection and jumping right to the real reason - incumbent businesses don't want new forms of competition.
NewsChannel 5 received this written explanation from Maggie Crane, the communications director for Mayor Francis Slay:
"We like the idea of fashion trucks a lot, but we still need to find out if there is a way to license mobile boutiques that does not put brick and mortar stores, who have already made substantial investments in their neighborhoods, at a disadvantage. We will also need to identify neighborhoods that will welcome them.
"We went through that process with food trucks a few years ago. Food trucks, for example, must abide by an enforceable set of rules outlining everything from safety regulations to where and for how long they can park.
"Our prediction is that the region's first legal fashion trucks will be here in the City. But, for now, they are pirates."
Note by this same logic Amazon should have been banned by St. Louis, as certainly bookstores in St. Louis had made substantial investments in their neighborhoods. In fact, one of my favorite book stores used to be in Clayton, near St. Louis, though I fear it has died (anyone know, I can't remember the name, was a large independent). In fact, that is an advantage of the Internet I had never considered -- it allows new businesses to challenge old ones without harassment by local licensing and zoning authorities.