WEST JEFFERSON-Town Aldermen recently barred ‘peddlers’ from hawking their wares downtown.
That news comes from the West Jefferson Board of Aldermen who voted unanimously April 4, to approve a new anti-peddling ordinance. It’s designed to stop unlicensed businesses from setting up shop along the town’s streets and competing with local merchants.
According to Town Clerk Wesley Barker, the town’s new Peddler’s and Itinerant Merchant Ordinance strengthens provisions the town already had, and said the move was prompted by discussions concerning the Ashe County Farmers Market, which will open April 16.
“There were businesses that were selling things just down from the farmer’s market that weren’t actually market vendors,” Barker said. “And that’s really what started this discussion.”
The new ordinance makes it unlawful to display or offer for sale any goods, merchandise or any other tangible items on any street, sidewalk, town-owned parking spaces or public rights of way within the town.
- Goods, wares and merchandise shall include, but not be limited to, fruits, vegetables, farm products, dairy products, fish, game, poultry, meat, plants, flowers, appliances, wearing apparel, jewelry, artwork, cosmetics and beauty aids, health products, medicines, household products or furnishings and food, confections or drinks of any kind, whether or not for immediate consumption.
This ordinance applies to peddlers, or people who travel from place to place trying to sell their inventory of goods, and ‘itinerant merchants’ with an established retail store in town.
Lori Goodman, the new manager of the Ashe County Farmers Market, said the move by town leaders is appreciated.
“I know that people were setting up within a close area to the market,” Goodman said. “That impacts our vendors. I’d love to see these people, if they’d like, to come under the market’s umbrella. I’m grateful to the town for considering this. It’s certainly going to help the market and be more fair to everyone.”
The new law won’t stop the normal operations of any West Jefferson business provided it doesn’t interfere with the sidewalks, and it won’t affect the parking lot yard sales that pop up in some areas of town on the weekends.
Barker and West Jefferson Town Manager Brantley Price said peddlers who violated the new law would simply be asked to stop their sale and leave.
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058 or Twitter.com/AdamROrr.