Proposal would change beach vendor business

There may be fewer vendors on the streets and beaches of Penticton this summer.

There may be fewer vendors on the streets and beaches of Penticton this summer, but city planners are hoping to improve the quality for both the vendor and the consumer.

Business Development Officer Stephanie Chambers said a proposal she is working on is intended to help set up the vendors for success.

Under the proposal, the total number of available spaces will be reduced from 40 to 24, but Chambers said the numbers are a little misleading.

“We’ve always had around 40 locations, but in the last few years, we’ve never leased more than 30 or 31 of those,” she said. “It’s more like a reduction of five spots.

“It is not about the quantity of spaces we have, it is more about the quality of them. Making sure there is decent foot traffic in setting our vendors up for success.”

Setting the vendors up for success is key to the new strategy, according to Chambers, with fewer vendors, in better spots, and the possibility of longer term leases.

“All of those things should signal to vendors that they can make investments in their tents and in their setups and in the product they are selling,” said Chambers. “The intent of all of this is to help raise the game of the vendors. There are some that are operating very professionally and then others that have never done it before and don’t have a lot of money to make a significant investment in it.”

Chambers is also proposing a hub location for food trucks, an idea she said came from the operators themselves.

“They want to work together, they want to create a destination location, so you know where to find them. They think it is stronger being together, versus being all over the place,” said Chambers. Locations spread out across the city are still available, but the feedback she has gotten indicates the truck operators would consider a great location where they could work together.

Chambers said the city is trying to figure out how to do this, but they are considering the parking lot between Main and Martin Street, next to Rotary Park as a possibility.

“We’re trying to work with the vendors. This is something we really support,” said Chambers, noting that Penticton has a more advance program for street and mobile vendors than other communities.

“We are really leaders in the valley. We have a really in depth program as it relates to vending. I think it is something we should be proud of.”

Chambers will be bringing her report to city council’s regular meeting on Feb. 1.