Lately, I've started to notice more and more food trucks on Colorado Boulevard, and last week, on the night of June 8, one showed up in front of , the neighborhood coffee house I opened more than 10 years ago.
The truck was serving Hawaiian shaved iced and smoothies. After taking a look at my POP (point of purchase) receipts the following morning, it was obvious that my sales had been hit.
Later that day, I discovered that some of my customers had complained the night before that they could not find the usual parking. In addition, my neighbor José, who owns next door to Swork, complained that when he arrived at his store in the morning, he found trash from the Hawaiian shaved ice truck littered everywhere.
José was upset at me because he thought I had allowed the truck to park in front of our stores. But that was not the case. This economy is bad enough without food trucks siphoning off our hard-earned customer base.
And that’s why I’m worried. I'm certain that the presence of food trucks in Eagle Rock will eventually have long-term negative effects on the neighborhood and just about everyone who lives in it or has a commercial connection to it.
For one thing, I know that the food truck that parks in front of Trader Joe’s affects the sales of . Sadly, there’s not much the restaurant can do about it—and no one has the courage to speak up for it.
Is this what it's coming down to? Cities invaded by food trucks? Date night on sidewalks? This trend will grow, expand, and in its wake leave nothing but broken businesses behind. Is this what Eagle Rock wants? More empty retail spaces, with “For Lease” and “For Rent” signs dotting the boulevard?
I love living in Eagle Rock. I have worked really hard to bring an uber coffee bar to Eagle Rock. But I'm exhausted.
Initially, my dream was to help shape Colorado Boulevard into a Pasadena-ish haven and really help revitalize the community. But we allow massage parlors, marijuana dispensaries, excessive nail salons—and now food trucks. I'm beginning to feel like all of my efforts are for nothing.
Let me digress a little. I live on College View, and there is a prominent medical marijuana dispensary, American Eagle Collective, right on the corner of my street and Colorado Boulevard. I have a small daughter who cannot play on her tiny piece of green grass in front of our home. Reason: My street has become a haven for drug deals. All kinds of unsavory people park right in front of my house, smoke pot, and meet up with other carloads of cohorts.
I wish I could say they are rebellious young college kids blowing off some steam. I
wish I could say that they are cancer patients, looking for some relief. But these are creepy looking, gang-afflicted youth as well as men who blare loud music from their cars and leave in their trail—which happens to be my front yard—empty beer bottles, pieces of zig-zag (cigarette paper used to roll joints), cigarette butts and leftover fast food trash.
It's an everyday, on-the-hour occurrence. We call the police on a daily basis, but to no avail—never mind that 90 percent of the time the culprits are members of Armenian gangs and it boggles the mind to contemplate what might be found in their cars.
When I’m not home, I have to live with a similar problem at work—pot-smoking hoodlums have also infiltrated the parking lot behind Swork. But now, the invasion of food trucks has added insult to injury. Local businesses that are paying high rents, workers comp and medical insurance are being hard hit. Our councilman seems not to be concerned about our tired circumstances.
So I have to ask the people of Eagle Rock, particularly fair-minded proprietors such as myself: Where is our voice? Why does Eagle Rock allow unethical businesses to operate here. Many believe it is because our City Council has no backbone. Pasadena, Burbank and Glendale would never allow what we do.
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