FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE/KSEE) – Fresno street vendors and entrepreneurs got together Wednesday morning, to learn what they need to do to avoid fines and avoid violating city codes.
Vendors from all over the county came to the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation’s event on 1444 Fulton St. in Downtown Fresno.
Many of them remember an unpleasant scenario where a young vendor’s product was thrown away, less than two months ago. That incident is part of what inspired this seminar.
This was the first street vendors educational seminar put on by the foundation.
With Fresno county and city officials in attendance, their goal was to inform vendors across the valley about health and safety, and the laws they need to know.
“We’re all trying to work together and have a business, do what we love, but also keep everyone that we’re serving safe,” said Roxanne Villaluz.
She started her business, Food Mood Kitchen, only a few months ago. Right now, she sells pastries and baked goods inside Fulton Street Coffee.
Once she saw the seminar, she jumped at the chance to attend.
“I’m going to actually work on getting a little cart. They said you can do a bike if you want. Seeing this happen means there is an opportunity to do more,” she said.
“Today is very important, not only for them, to have their proper license and permits, but for the community as well for their safety, and for their [vendors] safety as well,” said Dora Westerlund, the CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation.
Fresh in the mind of Westerlund, is an incident in mid-September, where a 16-year-old vendor, Edgar Tol, was stopped by Fresno State Police and Fresno County health officers, who discarded all of his product.
The teen vendor made the trek from Bakersfield that night to sell food after a concert at the Savemart Center.
This incident is a prime example of what the foundation is trying to prevent.
“Food vendors are struggling to get all of those permits because their carts are not up to the health department,” said Westerlund.
Depending on what one vendor is selling, they’d need proper storage, according to the Fresno County Health Department.
The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation says they are working with vendors to make sure they meet these requirements.
“We’re trying to help them case by case because we know their needs are different,” she said.
Thursday, the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a $2 million dollar grant that would go toward the foundation.
That money would become microgrants for vendors and small businesses.
The cost for a permit can range anywhere from $10 to $2,000, according to city council members and the foundation.
Permit costs depend on the food and product for sale.