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Local business owners concerned about pending city 'pop-up' vendor sweeps

Finding employment is no easy task for Reid who says that a felony strike on his record has made it nearly impossible.

NEW ORLEANS — Members of the city council say they will soon begin sweeps around the city to check what they call “pop-up vendors” operating without a vendor permit. This has caused concern amongst some who fall within this category.  

Specifically, for Quinn Reid, who the last 4 years have been washing cars under the Claiborne overpass. 

Reid says he is, “just trying to survive.” 

He said between the rising cost of rent, both residential and commercial, washing cars is “the only place I got to make money besides trying to worry about looking for a job.” 

Finding employment is no easy task for Reid who says that a felony strike on his record has made it nearly impossible.

The idea that the city would require every pop-up to have a city-regulated vendor license doesn’t sit well with Reid.  Put plainly he says of this whole thing, “it’s kind of messed up.”

The same goes for Albert R Quest III, who says he’s out here selling food to help put his 3 sons through high school at St Aug, “you know it’s our culture and this is what we have been doing since we were kids. So why would you take that.” 

According to District E Councilwoman Cindy Nguyen, this is the exact opposite of what the city’s intention is for the upcoming sweep.  

Nguyen says, “I want them to be able to start with a popup and become a big brand.”  

There was also a concern by members of the city council, Including Nguyen, that it’s not fair to those who have gone through the process of fully registering with the city, which she says can go a long way to help unregistered pop-ups,  “the only way you’re going to do that is if you set up right legally with all the credentialing with all the certifications, that way you can tap into resources.”  

She’s speaking about Business owners like Herman Dear who has a barbershop a block away from the overpass. Dear says he can see both sides, “I think that they should get their license eventually, but if they out there trying to make an honest living, why not?  What do you want them to do? At least they not out here selling drugs making an illegal living.” 

As for Reid, he says he has no plans to pay for the permit any time soon, “it’s hard to take away from the grind.  The grind isn’t going to stop.  I [will] do whatever it takes to make my money, pay my bills and stay out of trouble.” 

The only sweeping Reid is worried about, is that of cars pulling up to be detailed.  

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