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In March 1991, the Salt Lake City Council voted to allow vendors to sell their wares on the streets of Salt Lake City amid some opposition by local merchants concerned the vendors would cut into their business.

They needn't have worried.Two years later, only three licensed vendors work Salt Lake City's streets, and the vending business has not had the revitalizing effect its promoters had hoped.

"It hasn't totally caught on here," said Doug Dansie, community planner with the Salt Lake Planning Department. "I don't think it's been a failure. They do add to the sidewalk."

Dansie said he is disappointed about the small number of vendors but added that having a process set up for vendors is the most important thing.

"We knew right from the beginning that it would level off, but it's too bad there's not more than three. We would like to have more."

Bill McCullem, working at a hot dog cart on Main Street in front of Crossroads Plaza, said he thinks Salt Lake residents just aren't used to buying food from a vendor."They're afraid to eat out of a cart," he said. "When I went to New York, the people were waiting in long lines for hot dogs. Here, they want people to wait on them, and they don't want to wait in line."

McCullem, who charges $1.60 for a "beef dog," said most of his customers are tourists or business people who need to grab a quick bite. "I see people walk by every day and they never stop," he said.

McCullem said he wonders if Salt Lakers may be prejudiced against foreigners. McCullem is from Hawaii, and the man who owns his cart is from Iran.

He also said transients who ask him for free food sometimes scare away customers. "The panhandlers hurt business," he said.

His vending business makes about $100 per day. "Maybe more, maybe less, it all depends," said McCullem, adding that early summer is a good time for business, but that winter is also "not too bad."

One night he sells a lot of hot dogs and soft drinks is July 23, when crowds camp in place all night to reserve spaces for the Days of `47 parade.

But business is getting worse, not better, for vendors as time passes, McCullem says. "Business is going down."

Dansie realizes vending is a hard way to make money. "It's an inconsistent business," he said. "You have to sell a lot of hot dogs."

The city is going to try to loosen up the street-vending regulations in order to encourage more vendors, Dansie said. Some of the possible plans include giving the vendors more mobility so they are "not stuck to one spot," he said.

The city has followed a policy of starting with rigid regulations and then loosening them when it proves necessary, Dansie said.

"It's easier to open the faucet slowly than to open it all at once and then try to return to a normal flow," he said.