The idea is simple: sell premier clothing to shoppers on the streets.
But as retailer Pitch and Primer soon discovered, some – if not most – Raleigh streets are off-limits for mobile clothing sales.
Now Pitch and Primer is asking the city government for permission to sell its wares on some Raleigh streets. And the Raleigh City Council is scheduled to review the request during its meeting at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Jared Childs, the company’s co-founder, says allowing street-side clothing sales would help money that’s earned in Raleigh stay in the city.
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“If you’re creating a downtown area where people can work, live and play, this is only going to help that,” Childs said. “Your success rate for small businesses is going to go up.”
Pitch and Primer does business out of an Airstream – a sleek, shiny trailer – to find out whether there’s enough community support to one day invest in expensive rental space, Childs said. The company offers an email subscriptions service, and on the road has mostly set up shop on private properties such as Runologie, a shop for runners on Hillsborough Street.
Childs hopes to boost the company’s profile by doing business on public streets. But the company is often chased away by parking attendants, he said. The latest incident happened in November when they parked near HQ Raleigh, an office and co-working space on Harrington Street in downtown Raleigh.
A draft ordinance would allow mobile clothing vendors to sell on public streets as part of the city’s “Food Truck Pilot Program,” which the council launched in August. The program allows participating trucks to park and do business from one of four locations around downtown Raleigh.
After paying a $150 permit fee, they can sign up to park at 100 E. Polk St., 300 S. Harrington St., 300 S. Bloodworth St. and South State Street. The city picked those downtown locations for the food truck program because they’re near employment centers but not many brick-and-mortar restaurants.
Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who pushed for the food truck program, supports Pitch and Primer’s request and plans to publicly explain the ordinance on Tuesday.
“We have to tweak our ordinances to support new technologies and trends, and demonstrate that we support our entrepreneurs and innovation,” Baldwin said.