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Clash Errupts Over Bringing In Food Trucks
Thursday, 28 February 2013 08:29

The plan to invite food trucks, like those shown above during a visit to Pleasanton last year, is facing resistance from some Castro Valley restaurant-owners.

By Robert Souza




Whether bringing food trucks to Castro Valley for weekly visits would attract additional shoppers to the downtown or just create more competition for already hard-hit restaurants remained the unanswered question at Friday morning’s merchants meeting.

Around 60 residents and shop owners filled Knudsen’s Ice Creamery to brainstorm ways to bring more business and dollars to the new Boulevard.

Bill Lambert of the County Development Agency presented such options as a “bike and roll” event, an art-and-wine fair, a donated-item auction and the concept of having food trucks park in the lot behind the Daughtrey building on either Tuesday or Wednesday nights.

It was that last item that sparked an exchange of strong words between those who wanted to have the popular catering trucks visit one evening a week and those who staunchly opposed the idea.

“Bringing in food trucks will compete with my business!” agitated business owner Tom Kokezas told the meeting.

Lambert introduced “Food Truck Mafia” organizer Phil Woodman who said the members of his group are the only ones who donate a portion of their profits to communities like San Lorenzo, Fremont, Niles, Pleasanton, Newark and Livermore, where they have operated.

He insisted he was not pushing the idea of coming into Castro Valley, but noted that each truck has at least a thousand loyal followers on social media who turn out an average of 500 people for events, which he described as “customer attractions” for existing restaurants and businesses.

Former Boulevard businessman J.D. Kitchel was dubious the trucks would attract more customers, but would only “compete for the limited amount of dollars consumers have to spend on food” in Castro Valley.

“It’s worth opening your eyes to this because these trucks bring thousands of people,” said Castro Valley Veterinarian Andrew Moffatt. “We should try it, or sit here and go bankrupt.”

County officials recruited nine representatives from the group to meet in two weeks to review options for the food trucks.



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