Business licenses for vendors levels the playing field

Published 8:08 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

We’re glad the Selma City Council is considering charging a fee to vendors who set up shop in Selma during city sponsored or hosted events.

Such a move makes smart fiscal sense for the city as these vendors are using city services to sell their merchandise.

Granted, vendors who visit Selma during these events are not accustomed to being charged a fee to obtain a vendor’s license, but if they sell their merchandise in other cities we’re sure they’re familiar with such. It’s simply a cost of doing business.

One reason for implementing such a fee we’ve not heard mentioned publically yet is the need to protect our local businesses who are here 365 days a year, not just during events such as Jubilee or Market Day.

We’re sure you’ve seen vendors on street corners selling recliners, flower arrangements and those selling food and beverage during events. These “temporary businesses” directly compete with our local retailers who pay local taxes, employee local people offering them wages and benefits, and contribute in many other ways to our community that short-lived vendors do not.

Is it fair to have someone come into our community, set up a portable storefront, compete with local business and then leave, while not contributing anything back to the community? We don’t think so.

We agree that having vendors sell their wares, some of which cannot be found locally, adds to the uniqueness and pleasant experience of events such as those mentioned, but as those who run a business understand – operating a business comes with certain costs – even for those businesses that do not have a brick and mortar store to sell from.