On March 1 the Harvester had the Indigo Girls back in town. They draw a great crowd, and this year was no different. The Harvester even had a "pre-party" out back with live music, food and drink.
Unfortunately, the Harvester set up a non-local food truck that specializes in burgers right across the street — 50 feet away from Rocky Mount Burger Company — a poke in the eye.
Many of our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking more information about this food truck have been slow-walked. Town management even engaged outside counsel Woods Rogers PLC to respond — laughable.
We know the Town read our FOIAs because on April 29 they detailed (on Facebook) similar incidents where food trucks were chased out of Rocky Mount because they didn’t have a business license, zoning approval and weren’t paying the Town meals taxes.
So it seems that The Harvester, a supposed tool for economic development, is free to break Town rules to its benefit even if it hurts local businesses — so much for a level playing field.
Based on similar size Harvester shows, this pre-party cost us dearly. We overstaffed and ended up sending most employees, who work and live locally, home early costing them too. It’s akin to throwing existing local businesses and employees under the bus for the Harvester’s gain. Yay, local!
Previously, local food trucks were used for Harvester pre-parties, and while we didn’t like the competition so close we kept quiet.
But it begs some questions. Why are small businesses treated differently than the Harvester? Where is it written that the Harvester gets a double standard? What other rules are being broken, ABC? Who owns the Harvester LLC?
Someone should explain and assure us that it won’t happen again. Frankly, someone should also publicly apologize to our employees who were economically harmed. We'll hold our breath.
Last, we work very hard to bring quality products and services to Rocky Mount. We create local jobs, generate and pay local taxes. Everything we do is local. Is it too much to simply ask for fairness?
Rocky Mount Burger Company
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