Businesses mixed about food trucks on MMB

BY ANDREAS BUTLER
DAYTONA TIMES

Food trucks
SILVIA FLORES/ FRESNO BEE/TNS
Food truck owner and cook Miriam Martinez whips up a meal on her California grill. The City of Daytona Beach is addressing an ordinance issue relating to food trucks and their popularity.

Food trucks are appearing on Mary McLeod Bethune Boulevard (MMB), a street that runs through the heart of Daytona’s Black community and the Midtown Redevelopment area.

MMB, formerly Second Avenue, also houses many Black-owned businesses, including eateries.

There are mixed views and some concerns about if or how the food trucks will affect the businesses’ bottom line.

The Daytona Beach City Commission is finalizing an ordinance on food trucks, which they voted 6-0 in January to write up one. The commission is still hammering out the regulations.

Not allowed yet

Right now, food trucks are not allowed in the city except for special circumstances.

“Food trucks should not be popping up right now because we haven’t completed the ordinance that supports them. I think some may be popping up regularly that may be serving more than food,” said Commissioner Paula Reed, who represents Zone 6.

“I’m not concerned about them hurting businesses after speaking with business owners. When you think about it, when you want something you want it. If I want Bethune Grille, I want it. If I want Lil Mama’s or Kinfolks, that is where I am going to go.’’

MMB Boulevard is included in Zones 3 and 6

Protecting businesses

Commissioner Quanita May, the Zone 3 representative, says she wants to protect local small businesses.

“When I ran for office, I wanted to help all economic corridors, including small businesses on MMB, the beachside, Ridgewood [Avenue] or downtown. These are all areas where people walk, shop and live. We need to bring people into the area, but we can’t take money out of the area,” May explained.

“I’m concerned food trucks maybe taking money and leaving the community instead of putting money in. When residents need something, they go ask for donations from local small businesses. I don’t think they can ask that food truck like a brick-and-mortar business.”

‘Not worried’

Some local businesses weren’t concerned about food trucks dipping into
their profits.

“I’m not worried at all – not if you’re making some honest money. I think it’s enough money for everybody to make some. If that is what they want to do, then let them do it. Not everyone has transportation to make it to these establishments,” said Cathy Beckton, owner of CJ’s Place, 837 Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd.

Nyoka Wilcox, owner of Kinfolks Café, located at 734 Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd., also wasn’t concerned.

“I’m not concerned about them, especially if they are local food trucks. I don’t think they should be food trucks from other cities. I’m not worried about them dipping into our profits,” she related. “I think people come to our restaurants for the type of food that they want to eat.’’

Special events only?

Food trucks may be more welcome during special events in the area such as during Bike Week and Biketoberfest.

Reed said she’s advocating for the food trucks only for special events in Midtown.

“I would rather food trucks offer something different than the businesses currently in the area. I don’t see enough going on for them to be there all the time anyway,” she added. “Until we build the street back up to a thriving economic engine for our community, why would they be there? They probably wouldn’t want to be other than during special events.”

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