(La Porte, IN) - The cost of doing business for street vendors in LaPorte could go a lot higher.
The cost of a one-year mobile vending permit would go from $50 to $500 under an ordinance presented Tuesday night. The measure also requires street vendors meet all of the necessary requirements of the La Porte County Health Department.
LaPorte City Councilwoman Laura Cutler said the proposal stems mostly from a desire to be fair to vendors at the downtown Farmers Market. She said a vendor at the Farmers Market pays $20 for a table but the cost is $400 or more for someone reserving a spot at the market every Saturday from May to October. Cutler said some mobile vendors also set up outside the perimeter to capitalize on foot traffic generated by the market.
“I think this is an excellent change,” said LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody. A vote on the higher permit fees is expected at the next La Porte City Council meeting February 1.
The market enjoyed record attendance last year when anywhere from 350 to 550 people showed up every Saturday, said Lindsay Jongkind, Marketing & Membership Director for the La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership. She said LEAP taking over the market last year was more effective in its use of social media to promote it. “We did have our vendors say last year was the best year they had in a while. That was good to hear. We felt like we accomplished something,” Jongkind said.