Many brick and mortar restaurants are dealing with the added competition of food trucks in Traverse City.
That tension is higher for Cousin Jenny's on Union Street, where a trailer is set up for business right behind their building.
â??The general consensus is that it's appalling, it's disrespectful, it's ridiculous,â?? said Cousin Jennyâ??s Owner Jerilyn deBoer. â??We invest in the community and pay taxes year-round, and then the food trailer comes in at the prime time. What have they invested?â??
King Wubbz Pita Dubz has set up shop in a parking space immediately behind Cousin Jenny's.
â??Being stationary downtown is a lot easier,â?? explained Brian Welburn, King Wubbz owner. â??You're not packing up every night and you're able to stay in one spot.â??
It's a private parking spot and has no affiliation to the pasty restaurant.
â??[Customers] do not know why that food trailer is back there. They're trying to figure out if it's ours or who it belongs to,â?? said deBoer.
City Clerk Benjamin Marintette has fielded questions regarding the trailer's position. He says despite the concerns, King Wubbz has every right to be there.
â??Is it acceptable for somebody to essentially operate on private property right next to another food service establishment? Is it acceptable for them to have customers lined up down the sidewalk? The answer is yes,â?? stated Marintette. â??There are specific areas public areas where theyâ??re allowed to operate and they're essentially allowed to operate on any private property.â??
Under the current ordinance, food trucks are allowed to stay open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on commercial, public property. Hours of business are extended for trucks on private property. They can operate from 6 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Welburn wanted to cater to the late night crowd, so he did his homework.
â??I researched where I could find a private lot and I was able to find this. I got a hold of the people who own this parking spot and I have a lease through them,â?? Welburn explained.
Many people aren't against food trucks in general, but they say this one seems to be misplaced.
â??Thereâ??s a place for food trucks, and thereâ??s not a place for food trucks,â?? said Carl Johnson of Traverse City. â??When they get to the point where they're taking business from established businesses that are paying taxes and are trying to run a business, then I think they should be somewhere else.â??
â??He seems to think it's about competition, about pita versus pasties, and it's not about that,â?? said deBoer. â??I think that this tarnishes not only the image of the building, but also the image of Cousin Jenny's.
This issue doesn't only impact Traverse City. Boyne City is considering adopting a similar food truck ordinance.
The owner of Cousin Jenny's says she's gotten calls from restaurants and officials in Boyne City wondering if it could happen to them too.