Office of California State Assemblyman Rob Bonta, 18th District
May Update: AB 2719 – Standard Pop-Up Regulation Zones Act is a model ordinances on mobile retail operations, in order to encourage (spur) the development of pop-up retail. It has passed the initial hearing, appropriations, and the floor! Here is a link to track its status as it is awaiting final review in August! It has been a tremendous amount of work with several partners to get this far and we will calling on you for your support.
Popuphood participated in the Business and Economic Development Advisory Committee. We were invited by Assembly Member Rob Bonta representing the 18th District of the State of California.
The Challenges to local municipalities in dealing with and regulating mobile retail and pop-ups is the fact that it is a new industry and there are very few precedents to draw from regarding regulation and policy. Each City and State then is forced to “reinvent the wheel” and develop guidelines without the benefit of access to other cities process, victories and challenges.
Every Bill has a story, this SPURZ act will create a unified set of up to date guidelines for a unique and growing industry saving hundred of tax payer dollars in man hours, smoothing out the process for entrepreneurs in both urban and rural areas, and build micro businesses into major regional economic engines.
EVENT: In June of 2013 we organized an event to activate a civic plaza with mobile retail and shine a light on some of these policy issues. The event, Fashion Friday on the Plaza, was a huge success drawing crowds and highlighting the mutually beneficial approach through programming between the local fashion boutique brick and mortars and the retail trucks. Sponsored by the City of Oakland and the WCMRA road trip series we hosted 7 mobile retail trucks and over 5 brick and mortar shops as part of a fashion show and happy hour shopping event.
A Mobile retail vendor traditionally is defined as a person or entity that sells from a stand that is intended to be temporary, or is capable of being moved from one location to another, whether the stand is located within or on the premises of a fixed facility (such as a kiosk at a shopping center or an airport) or whether the stand is located on unimproved real estate (such as a lot or field leased for retail purposes).*
Today the Mobile retail includes sales from trucks, vans, and trailers as well as bicycle powered food vending, sidewalk stalls, and carts. It is a growing industry, so much so that a national organization has developed to support and represent this new market for small independent brands. The Mobile Retail Association (MRA) has a West Coast branch to serve the surge in foodtrucks and now mobile boutiques (WCMRA).
· No guidelines
· Different from city to city, and by county
· Lumped in with food trucks
· Seen as unfair competition
· Reliant on events and others to pull special permits
· Must pay parking fees to operate
· Confusing or out of date ordinances
· No visible unifying entity for gov. to work with
Current Options available to mobile retail trucks
1. Pay for private street or parking lot - $200/day
2. Apply for Temporary Encroachment Permit
3. Participate in Special Event Permitted event
• Los Angeles
-The city has targeted specific locations for mobile vendors and created ordinances to allow mobile vendors to work in the city.
• San Francisco
–WCMRA has drafted legislation presented to the city council that allows for mobile retail trucks to operate in designated zones under very specific limitations. This has passed with limitations. A copy is provided in the following pages with areas for discussion in red.
–Popuphood and the City of Oakland hosted 7 mobile retail trucks for an event entitled “Fashion Friday.”
–Oakland has an increasing number of mobile retailers and mobile retail hopefuls seen at First Fridays.
• Bay Area - Off The Grid
–150 food vendors work with “Off the Grid” to provide mobile food truck hubs all over the bay area.
–Off the Grid is beginning to expand its work to work with mobile retail vendors with out a retail context for an area.
· Lowers barriers to entry with reduced overhead and risk.
· Promotes brands
· Flexible locations
· Product Launch
· Social Impact
· Creates activity and safety
· Rewards Sm. Biz
· Food truck envy
• Boost retail revenue
–Mobile retailers are licensed vendors and create additional sources of tax revenue
• Invest in future businesses
–Mobile retail is a step towards a more permanent (brick and mortor) business 90% of the time.
–The initial cost of the mobile-retail business model is between $5,000 and $30,000 compared to the average brick and mortar start up cost of $50,000 and $100,000. Consequently the mobile retail industry opens doors to aspiring entrepreneurs who would otherwise be prohibited from opening a business.
• Test potential markets and locations
–One of the strategies implemented to encourage mobile retail is to target specific Zones for mobile and temporary entrepreneurship. This gives the city a chance to test potential retail markets and determine whether the area could sustain more robust business without such a high cost-risk associated.
• Create vibrant places and activate empty spaces
-In NYC we have seen how clustered food trucks have transformed street scenes into vibrant city-scapes by activating empty lots, plazas, and festivals. Mobile retailers offer a profit-making approach to destination creation and placemaking.
- Increases foot traffic through events, creates interest in transitional areas offering needed investment and activity through providing goods and services.
Each municipality can build on the work already done and measure economic impact with shared resources and results. Many businesses operate in multiple cities in any given week. A regional approach makes sense so the experience is consistent thereby increasing success for mobile retailers.
There are many other paths to growing one’s business and this bill gives cities a chance to support these micro businesses into the job creators of the future by providing consistent guidelines across multiple cities and regions. This allows for smooth and legal operations from event to event, and town to town, which is often the case in the bay Area where people live, work, and conduct business in several cities during a month, or even one day.
Popuphood a social enterprise based in Oakland, CA committed to citizenship, advocacy, and local small business growth and the renewal of neighborhoods, block by block. This will be a model for the rest of the country, a California often is. Popuphood is sponsoring this bill because we many of our applicants to our Pathways to Permanent Program are mobile retailers. Out of over a 100 applicants, many of our mobile entrepreneurs seek Popuphood’s services to find them a brick and mortar location as the next step in their business, or see pop-ups as a viable option for the of season winter months. Many vendors see mobile retail as the next step to their business as a way to discover the area they would like to invest in and see pop-ups as a way to test out the neighborhood, or be a part of its organic growth over time.
The American Mobile Retail Association (AMRA) is a growing group of mobile retailers in the U.S. working in collaboration with the same goal – to bring recognition and growth to the innovative industry of mobile boutiques and services.
The West Coast Mobile Retail Association (WCMRA) launched in 2011 with 5 members in LA, CA. WCMRA quickly expanded across the Pacific coastline with over 20 members in the state of California and Washington in one year. In 2013 the WCMRA expanded Nationally to form the AMRA with 32 trucks across America.
Contact: Stacey Steffe, Cofounder
The Fashion Law Group represents the Fashion, Film, Music, Sports, Startup, and Television industries based out of LA, CA.
Contact: Manoj N. Shah, Esq. Partner
The Fashion Law Group
The Small Business Commission oversees the Office of Small Business, the central point of information and referral for entrepreneurs and small businesses located in the City & County of San Francisco.
Steve Adams (President)
Monetta White (Vice President)
Irene Yee Riley