A hot dog may taste the same whether you buy it near Temple Square or on the edge of downtown, but location means everything to 78 people.
That's how many signed up before a Monday deadline for a drawing to determine who gets the prime spots when the city starts allowing street vendors in May. The city will conduct the drawing Thursday at 12:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers."I suspect the No. 1 site people will want is in front of the Crossroads Plaza across from Temple Square," said Doug Dansie, the city's community planner. "The second-best spot will be between Crossroads and the ZCMI Mall."
City leaders decided earlier this year to legalize street vending, believing it will revitalize downtown. Vendors will be limited to food, flowers or balloons. Dansie said applicants so far want to sell everything from fruit bars to pizza, lemonade and flowers.
The city can grant more than 400 permits to vendors downtown and in Sugar House. Only about 90 of those will be in areas that promise to provide a steady stream of customers. Once the drawing is over, vendors will again be allowed to apply for the remaining permits.
But Dansie said some undesirable locations may be profitable from time to time, such as in front of the new Jazz arena.
Once the city grants a permit for a certain area, the vendor must sell for at least one day a month from March to November. Vendors do not have to show up during winter months.
However, Dansie believes December, despite its cold weather, will provide hot sales.
"Someone selling hot chocolate or hot chestnuts across the street from the Christmas lights at Temple Square is going to make a killing," he said. "It's the same with the horse carriages. You wouldn't think people would want to ride in a carriage in December, but that's their (carriage owners') biggest month."