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Edmonton entrepreneurs offer praise, frustration as they seek business classification rule changes

WATCH ABOVE: Entrepreneurs in Edmonton are offering some praise for a bureaucracy looking to evolve with changing times. But as Vinesh Pratap reports, there's also frustration about not going far enough.

The bus pulls in and moments later, the people are lining up. But they’re not looking for a ride.

“We’ve got, on average, about four or five stops per day,” explains Andrew Lineker with CD Fresh Express.

READ MORE: Early success of Edmonton entrepreneur’s new business literally driven by his bus

The mobile food market drew rave reviews from customers last year when the business started up.

Lineker has found about 16 locations around Edmonton where he can park for a couple of hours to sell goods before moving on. But there’s a roadblock to further growth.

“The city won’t allow me to park on the street,” Lineker says.

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The city indicates it has tried to find solutions to the problem, but that the rules can only be bent so far.

“There’s regulation where mobile businesses can’t park because of access to business for things like fire, emergency crews, handicap parking, parking,” says Jeff Chase, the director of Local Economy with the City of Edmonton.

READ MORE: City of Edmonton reverses stance on food trucks on parkland

Chase is part of a team that, over the last couple of years, has ramped up work to to help small business owners who challenge the traditional rule book.

“We’re committed working with business as quickly as we can and we’re walking that talk with programs like the one-on-one support,” says Chase.

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There have been more than 1,500 inquiries to the city as the work has become more focused on providing that small business support. One of those newer businesses is a coffee shop located near MacEwan University on 109 Street.

“We realized it as an opportunity for us to tell the city what had to change and what could be different,” says owner Drew McIntosh.

The Grizzlar Coffee & Records also combines a roaster in a back room.

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It, however, falls under a different business classification, but McIntosh was able to merge the two.

“We had a person that we were able to contact who worked with us for months to take our concerns and then bring them back.”

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Lineker, however, remains frustrated.

READ MORE: Halifax’s Mobile Food Market receives national recognition

He believes there’s an appetite for his mobile food market and he wants to grow his business.

“I have gotten some calls from some other municipalities and they’re willing to step up and see if they can work with me.”

Watch below (June 23, 2017): A new survey is showing some optimism for the small business community after a rough couple of years for the Canadian economy. Shannon and James from the South Edmonton Business Association explain.

Optimism for Edmonton’s small business community
Optimism for Edmonton’s small business community
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