2017-04-06 / News

Town gives Del’s Lemonade seasonal permission to sell at Mackerel Cove

BY TIM RIEL

The town will collect an astronomical 12,900-percent fee increase from Del’s Lemonade to allow its truck to park at Mackerel Cove for the summer and hawk refreshments.

The town councilors approved the one-year contract at their meeting Monday night.

Following a policy change by the town in December 2016, a $25 peddler’s license is no longer applicable for operations like Del’s. According to Andy Wade, recreation director, the license is not intended for vendors to exploit popular sites for an entire day.

“By nature, peddlers have to be mobile,” he said. “They have to keep moving.”

While the town will collect $3,225 more from Del’s this season, Wade said it’ll be business as usual for beachgoers.

“There will be no change in service,” he said.

During the inaugural solicitation for vendors at Mackerel Cove, East Ferry and Fort Getty, Del’s outbid Johnny Angel’s Clam Shack for the rights to the town beach. Johnny Angel’s bid was $1,007, less than one-third of Del’s offer. Based on the one-year agreement, the lemonade truck will be allowed at Mackerel Cove from May 15 through Columbus Day.

Both companies also submitted bids for the East Ferry location. Johnny Angel’s offer was identical to its Mackerel Cove bid, while Del’s bid $3,350. However, that contract was not awarded and the matter was tabled after existing village business owners raised concerns.

According to Town Administrator Andy Nota, these businesses said it isn’t fair to compete with outside vendors. Unlike the Mackerel Cove contact, the East Ferry agreement only would allow an umbrella cart in the grassy area behind the bus stop.

In the past, Fred Bingell, who owns House of Pizza on Narragansett Avenue, has sold hot dogs and lemonade in that area, but it was sporadic. According to Mike Ridge, who owns Spinnakers Café at Ferry Wharf, a better fit would be a vegetable stand operated by local farmers.

“Philosophically, if you’re going to have something there, it should be something complementary,” he said. “If not, give it back to Fred. At least he has a brick-and-mortar store in town that’s already paying an exorbitant amount of taxes, which helps keep us going year-round.”

Ridge also is worried about losing a daily parking spot downtown to an employee of the vendor.

While the council is considering whether to OK Del’s downtown offer, Nota said East Ferry would be an experimental site with a short-term contract.

“It may just be a one-year exercise,” Nota said.

Council Vice President Mike White, who lives across the street, questioned whether the location is profitable.

“The experiment would be if somebody could make it there,” he said. “Three grand? Are they really going to make that back?”

Ridge warned that it could hurt downtown cafes while doing nothing for Del’s bottom line.

“They’re going to cannibalize their own sales from Mackerel Cove,” he said.

Return to top