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by Jordan Green

FOOD FIGHT

The city of Greensboro may wade into an economic dispute between small business owners organized through the Randleman Road Area Business Association and mobile food vendors. The business association has complained to the city that mobile vendors operating either sandwich trucks or rolling grills, also known as pushcarts, present unfair competition because of their comparatively low overhead and less burdensome regulatory requirements.

As an example of the kind of small-scale culinary enterprise taking place on Randleman Road, Assistant City Manager Tom Carruthers wrote to City Manager Rashad Young in a September memo that pushcart vendors sell hot dogs in the parking lot of Ace Hardware three or four days per week, and sell grilled ribs on the weekend.

Carruthers said pushcart vendors typically operate with a privilege license from the city and are required to comply with state health regulations, while RV-sized sandwich trucks often rent a lot at a defunct gas station. Some of the pushcart vendors, Carruthers wrote, donate a portion of their proceeds to nonprofits in exchange for use of the organizations’ exemption from local and state taxes and regulations.

The business association argues that the mobile food vendors pose unfair competition because local restaurants’ overhead costs are higher and they are subject to more stringent regulation, Carruthers wrote, while the vendors argue in return that there is enough business and space for everyone, they provide income to commercial property owners and they bring more traffic into the area.

The Greensboro Legal Department has suggested the city might address the dispute by requiring that proceeds from vendor sales using nonprofit status go exclusively to the sponsoring organization, require that all pushcarts adhere to county health department regulations and restrict mobile food vendors to particular areas with particular zoning designations.

YOST & LITTLE ACQUIRED BY BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY AFFILIATE

HomeServices of America, a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, announced on Tuesday that it has acquired Greensboro-based Yost & Little Realty. The 82-year-old real estate company will be merged with Prudential Carolinas Realty, which is already owned by HomeServices to create a new company for the Greensboro market that will be re-branded as Prudential Yost & Little Realty. Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffet is known is perhaps the world’s most renowned investor.

Explaining the reasoning for the acquisition, a press release states, “The HomeServices business model focuses on companies that are market leaders, such as Yost & Little, with longstanding traditions of excellence. The average age of a HomeServices operating company is 54 years.”

Yost & Little President Eddie Yost has been named chairman of Prudential Yost & Little Realty, while Prudental Carolinas Realty President and CEO Tommy Camp will oversee the new company’s operations in the Triad, Charlotte and Triangle.

HIGH POINT UNIVERSITY PLANS NEW HIRING AMIDST GLOOMY ECONOMY

High Point University announced on Monday that it plans to add at least 100 new jobs by the end of August 2011. Such an expansion would bring the university’s workforce to 997, more than doubling it since 2005 when President Nido Qubein took office. The university currently boasts an enrollment of more than 4,200 students. The news comes at a time when High Point’s unemployment rate has recently dipped below double digits, but only after the labor force shrunk by more than a thousand jobs in the span of two months, reflecting discouragement among job seekers.

NETWORKING EVENT PAIRS SMALL BUSINESSES WITH ENTERTAINERS

Greensboro-based Triad Entertainment Solutions has launched a monthly networking event, “Triad Thursday,” to promote local businesses and artists. The next event, on Thursday, spotlights small business Sensuous Scents & Sights with entertainment from the jazz band Untitled and comedian Chris Monds at Café Pasta, located at 305 State St. The event begins at 8 p.m.

A press release quotes Triad Entertainment Solutions as saying, “We are aiming at all facets to try and relieve stress during these tough times. We recognize that in times like these artists often suffer more than others because the entertainment budget is the first to go. We not only want to give artists a stage to perform; we want to give every industry a stage.”

A $10 cover for individuals and $15 for couples will be charged at the door.

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