A clothing distributor on four wheels has hit a roadblock in the Hub and risks being stopped dead in its tracks.
Since March 1, the city has told Derrick Cheung, co-founder of Green Street Vault, that he's no longer allowed to sell urban apparel from his specialized truck while parked in the Back Bay or Downtown.
"We are the first truck in Boston to do this," said Cheung, noting the "grey area" for operations.
Cheung's shop has held a "hawkers and peddlers" license for the last eight months without issue, he said.
But after recently being "harassed" by workers from the city's Inspectional Services division and racking up citations, Cheung has had to scale back sales.
"[They are] stalking us and making sure we aren't in the [Back Bay] area," he said.
Cheung said he and partner Howard Travis want to obtain a special license, but that they aren't able.
"The only permit that exists in Boston is for vendors selling roasted nuts or sunglasses," said Cheung.
City officials said they are merely following protocol, not singling out Green Street Vault.
"Boston Proper has regulations ... taking up the parking meters, selling out of the truck is restricted," said Michael Mackan, chief of Boston's Code Enforcement Police.
"There are rules and regulations and we enforce them," he said.
A spokesperson from the mayor's office said there are currently no permits for retail trucks like Green Street Vault in Boston.
Cheung said he hopes to work "collaboratively with the city" to reach a compromise on the issue and possibly create a new type of license catering to shops like his.
"We chose to start Green Street in Boston for a reason: because we love this city. We in no way view City Hall as the bad guy," he wrote in a blog post on the company's website.
According to Michael Mackan, chief of Boston's Code Enforcement Police, the following rules apply for the license Green Street Vault holds:
Boston Proper restricts vendor sales from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
After two sales or 10 minutes without a sale, peddlers are urged to move up to 250 feet.
Supporting the clothes cause
boston. Hundreds of supporters have backed Cheung and co-founder Howard Travis to try and keep Green Street Vault operating around the city.
The duo posted a petition on their website urging customers to send letters to Mayor Thomas Menino, asking him to support new businesses like theirs.
Cheung called the response to the petition "amazing and encouraging."
"Allowing us to continue to do what we do best will only help push the agenda for innovation forward," Cheung wrote on the site.