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Mobile Fashion Trucks May Get Regulated (Better Than Illegal)

Image via <a href="">TopShelf Boutique</a>
Image via TopShelf Boutique

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Following on the heels of the massive proliferation of food trucks in San Francisco and beyond, retail businesses are taking their shows on the road. Until now, they've not had to deal with regulatory requirements. No such thing exists because mobile retail is technically illegal in San Francisco, the SF Examiner reports. But that's about to change. Fashion trucks may for the first time get their own set of regulations in San Francisco, which is arguably better than being prohibited.

Expensive rents and pesky landlords have led to fashion trucks including TopShelf Boutique (currently parked at the Storenvy pop up at Crocker Galleria) cropping up around the city. The SF Office of Small Business gets requests about once a week from folks hoping to apply for a non-existent mobile-retailing license. The trend is prominent enough that an SF-based West Coast Mobile Retail Association exists, which recently expanded nationally. Its president and founder, Stacey Steffe, has declared 2013 "The year of the mobile retail truck."

But brick and mortar shop owners don't think it's quite fair that their wheeled counterparts get out of the red tape they must cut through to open a storefront. "Just putting a sign on my building, I went through a lot of permits to get that," Brownie's Hardware owner Stephen Cornell told the SF Examiner. So city officials are drafting regulations to address where the trucks can operate, whether chain stores can operate them, and the cost of permits and more, which they say will be ready for review by the planning and transit departments as well as local police by late march.
· San Francisco Could Become Ground Zero for Mobile Retail Regs [SF Examiner]
· A Renaissance at the Crocker Galleria [Racked SF]
· TopShelf Boutique [Official Site]