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City forces Rack + Clutch off St. Louis streets

5:21 PM, Apr 25, 2013   |    comments
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By Ashley Yarchin

St. Louis (KSDK) - We've watched and played a part in the frenzy over food trucks, but there's been a revolution. St. Louis' first fashion truck has rolled into town, but city officials say not so fast.

It's fashion's answer to the food trucks, catering to customers, wherever they may be.

"I don't have to make as much money as a brick and mortar store on my price points because I don't have all of the overhead that a brick and mortar store is gonna have," explained Emily Ponath, who owns Rack + Clutch.

The 31-year-old worked at a women's store in the Central West End, which floundered in the failing economy.

"So, women on the west coast were opening these fashion trucks or mobile boutiques and all of a sudden, I bought a truck," she went on to say.

But there has been a bump in the road for this St. Louis fashion truck pioneer. Right now, the city hasn't found a way to license mobile boutiques and keep them from disrupting business at brick and mortar stores.

Ponath has all of the paperwork needed to operate her business on private property, but she has not gotten approval from the city. So, when she opened her doors downtown in Citygarden Thursday, she was shut down by an inspector with the city's streets department.

NewsChannel 5 received this written explanation from Maggie Crane, the communications director for Mayor Francis Slay:
"We like the idea of fashion trucks a lot, but we still need to find out if there is a way to license mobile boutiques that does not put brick and mortar stores, who have already made substantial investments in their neighborhoods, at a disadvantage. We will also need to identify neighborhoods that will welcome them.

"We went through that process with food trucks a few years ago. Food trucks, for example, must abide by an enforceable set of rules outlining everything from safety regulations to where and for how long they can park.

"Our prediction is that the region's first legal fashion trucks will be here in the City. But, for now, they are pirates."

To find out where the fashion truck will be, visit the Rack + Clutch Facebook page, follow the truck on Twitter, or visit the Rack + Clutch website.


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