Here’s how that York city story should have been written

The lede for that story yesterday —  about an upcoming lottery for a sidewalk food vendor license in York —  should have been written differently.

Maybe something like this:

Locals looking to start a small business but worried they missed their opportunity to slather condiments on street-cart hot dogs recently got good news from York city.

It’s not too late to ketchup.

That’s good stuff, as far as I’m concerned.

Cheese is drizzled on top of a hot dog at Double D’s Dogs on East Market Street in York in this July, 2011 file photo by Kate Penn. I could go for a hot dog right now….

And so too, in my experience, is most of the food you get from such carts, usually run by small business owners who know their trade.

That’s why I wrote the story a bit under protest, wondering why the licenses are so limited and dreaming a little about all the good stuff that might be offered along the street downtown.

According to Kevin Schreiber, the city’s director of community development, there wasn’t much interest by vendors in street carts two years ago, when York City Council decided to limit usage to just one downtown license. There were only two applicants, he said.

The issue predates my time at the paper, but still it makes me wonder why we couldn’t have both of them.

Something to ask council members, perhaps.

Schreiber said he doesn’t know of much lingering debate here. And I guess that means there aren’t legions of food-cart vendors drooling over that downtown selling spot.

Too bad.

Schreiber did leave open the possibility things could change, as downtown plans develop over time. The license costs about $250, he said, not much to pay I wouldn’t think for someone looking to start a small, street business.

For my part, I hope there’s a shift. Maybe as word of the license offering gets out this year, more vendors will step forward.

Maybe sellers will approach the council, demanding their fair square of downtown sidewalk.

Maybe someday we’ll see more quick-snack options for those walking to the court house, or for people who stop downtown to shop. Even for reporters, hurrying to city hall.


For now, it’s only 9:45 in the morning. But I could really go for a taco.

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3 Responses to Here’s how that York city story should have been written

  1. Mark Foreman says:

    One lousy vendor??? There are plenty of streets in the City and four corners on the square. I know NYC is MUCH larger but they have all sorts of street vendors all over the place!

    • Tim Stonesifer says:

      Yeah, I haven’t looked too closely at this beyond a few calls, but I have to think even with the obligatory city regs there would be a handful of people who’d want to get out there and sell. We’ll see…

      • Manuel Gomez says:

        I’m afraid Director Schreiber’s comments are not entirely accurate. When the ordinance amendment was proposed, I, along with others in the community, pleaded with the city to allow for free and open competition with regards to peddlers and vendors on the square.

        Other elements, such as Downtown Inc and a few restaurants, lobbied the city to engage in protectionists tactics; saying that vendors would ‘cut into brick and mortar profits’, and that vendors and peddlers create trash.

        The city ultimately decided to limit vendors, and the square’s ambiance and commercial viability has suffered because of it.

        It’s also interesting that the Director doesn’t mention the nearly full-year l0sses a regular square vendor had to endure while the city ordinance underwent a re-write.

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