by Two Way Street Editorial Team

Background: Over the past Wednesday for the past 3 months, Two Way Street and Mariposa Music have been coordinating the street vendor component of Brick Light Nights at the Brick Light District. This involves providing incoming applicants with a short survey inquiring about the applicants’ general background and interest in street vending. Questions posed were not chosen with the intention of “vetting” incoming applicants, but rather with the goal of gathering information surrounding the current barriers that aspiring micro-entrepreneurs experience in registering their businesses, purchasing solicitation permits, and scaling. Applicants were intentionally not informed about the exemption in Section 3-38-1 of New Mexico State Code that “part-time artists whose income from sales of his/her artwork in the prior taxable year did not exceed $1,000” are exempt from having to register their businesses with their respective municipalities. This was to test their legal and technical knowledge on the issue.

Key Survey Results*

  • More than 70% of 44 street vendors who have participated in Brick Light Nights over the past 3 months have been Arts and Crafts vendors
  • Only 2 street vendors had purchased solicitation permits with the City, 28 had not, and 14 reported not needing soliciting permits because they were soliciting donations for magazines, etc.

Recommendations & Further Research: While results from the survey as a whole indicate that there is a strong local desire to bring local products to the market, these results also indicate that there is a strong need for identifying more events and venues to continue to pilot products. There is also the need for providing longer-term technical support.

In response to the data collected and analyzed by Two Way Street, the City of Albuquerque is now designing and working through the planning processes of developing a “Temporary/Pop-Up Business License” to members of the Albuquerque creative economy. Although still a concept and plan, the City of Albuquerque hopes to bring it to the people and city in the Fall/Winter months. In order to help design a permit that best fits the needs of both the applicant and the City of Albuquerque, Two Way Street is interested in doing further research among ABQ Art Walk participants over the next few months. .

Looking ahead, if One Albuquerque were to develop and the City of Albuquerque implement a Temporary Business Permit License, Two Way Street would be interested in providing applicants with ongoing technical support to eventually register their business, apply for a loan, etc. This would ensure that everyone has “gone full circle.”

It has been almost 2 years since I first caught wind of the street paper movement while studying City Planning at the University of New Mexico. After attending the 2015 International Network of Street Paper Summit in Seattle, I knew that Albuquerque’s original street paper launched in 1990 had to be revived.


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