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Skyway Businesses Shuttering, Point Blame Toward Food Trucks

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- In the past 2 1/2 weeks, three skyway businesses have closed and a fourth is scheduled to announce it will be closing Friday.

Business owners said they had no choice but to close after losing business to the food trucks that line Marquette Avenue one story below.

Now, the skyway business owners are hoping to open talks with food truck owners, leading to new guidelines that will allow both kinds of businesses to operate successfully.

"We've lost three businesses and all their employees in the past two weeks," said Doug Sams of the Downtown Food Committee.

Peter's Grill, German Hotdog and Taco Johns are the three that have closed.

"The number of lunches sold on any given day is not going to change whether the food trucks are there or not there, and when the food trucks are concentrated in this area, the local restaurants find their sales diluted," Sams said.

Kelly Zenk has owned Ginelli's Pizza for 27 years. He's had to eliminate positions like many other skyway businesses to stay open. He blames food trucks, too.

"They've impacted me by about 20 percent," Zenk said. "It's all concentrated in one area and it's an unfair playing field."

The Association for Skyway Restaurants would like to see new guidelines that will limit the number of trucks parked on one block.

"We've heard from the restaurant group and we've engaged them, met with them, and had a very constructive conversation," said John Levy, President of the Minnesota Food Truck Association.

Both sides realize there are issues, and are working together to come to an agreement that will make everyone happy.

"There just needs to be a peaceful coexistence," Levy said.

Spreading the trucks out, and expanding their footprint may be a hard sell. Both sides hope to come to terms on new guidelines by January of 2014.

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