The food cart is empty, the grill off, and there’s a guy sitting on a cooler playing an acoustic bass while a small crowd gathers around him. The cart owner slings business cards that call for a boycott of a neighboring pizza joint, not hot dogs; and a menu board decries those who have forced him out of business.
In this week’s Worcester Magazine, we’ll report on a true street-level battle at the intersection of business and politics.
Dan Mascroft, a hot dog slinging street vendor, is currently prohibited from selling food at his usual weekend-night location outside of Jose Murphy’s on Water Street despite the fact that several neighboring businesses have signed off on his city paperwork. That’s because he can’t get the signature from one business: Blackstone Freshway Pizza, diagonally across the street from his usual setup.
Mascroft has taken to setting up his cart anyway. Instead of food, he tells anyone asking for food about his situation, and asks them to sign a petition to allow him to open. As of Friday night, after a few nights of the empty-foodcart, Mascroft says he’s collected about 90 total signatures (He’s also started gathering signatures for a potential City Council campaign).
Blackstone Freshway employee John Youseff calls the issue one of unfair competition, and says he wouldn’t have a problem if Mascroft actually invested in a bricks and mortar business, with the same costs and fees.
Mascroft says he’s not interested in running a fulltime business, and is merely serving an underserved population.
“I’m more negatively effecting his business now than if I was selling hot dogs.”
Read more about this story in Thursday’s edition of Worcester Magazine.