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St. Paul to allow selling merchandise from trucks on downtown streets

Macy’s is gone, so St. Paul city officials are trying a new type of retail: merchandise sold from trucks on downtown streets.

The City Council approved a “mobile retail ordinance” this week, allowing vendors to sell new merchandise from trucks, but not during rush hour, and they have to be careful not to impede traffic or pedestrians.

The food-truck craze has been very successful in downtown St. Paul and Minneapolis, and officials hopes this will take off, too.

A $72 license fee will be needed when the ordinance goes into effect at the end of June. Selling from vehicles will only be allowed downtown and near the Xcel Energy Center. The State Capitol is off limits.

Some other rules from the ordinance:

  • Mobile retailers may only sell new, unused items.
  • Mobile retailers may not sell counterfeit merchandise. Selling counterfeit merchandise is grounds for license revocation.
  • Mobile retailers may not stand upon any sidewalk, street or alley for the purpose of disposing of their goods without first obtaining a use-of-street permit from the department of public works. No licensee has any exclusive right to any location in the public sidewalks, streets or other public property.  
  • Mobile retailers may not operate in a congested area where such operation might impede or inconvenience the public use of such streets or public ways. For the purpose of this chapter, the judgment of a police officer or license inspector, exercised in good faith, shall be deemed conclusive as to whether the area is congested and the public impeded or inconvenienced.

And they can’t set up within 2,000 feet of a block party or festival, unless invited by the organizers.

“It sounds like it’s going to be fun,” Council Member Dave Thune, who represents downtown, told the Star Tribune.

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