Discussion is heating up over a new campaign to bring food trucks to the city of Akron. Currently, there's a law prohibiting the trucks from operating in the city.
Suzie Graham, president of the Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP), said food trucks offer unfair competition when they set-up near local businesses.
"They take business away and then as soon as business slows down, they pick up and drive away," said Graham. "In the meantime, they have not been employing the number of employees that the restaurant has and in the meantime, they have not been paying the taxes into the Akron economy as the restaurant has."
Jeff Winer, co-owner of Orange Truk, a local gourmet food truck out of Copley said for the most part, they're competing with fast-food chains as opposed to sit-down restaurants.
"I'm not getting the customer who wants to sit down and have lunch. I'm getting the person who wants to come, get something that's restaurant quality, and gets it fairly fast."
Winer says he wants every business deserves a fair and equal opportunity to thrive in the city. "We're just asking for the city to be fair. Fair to all businesses. We want to support Akron. We want Akron to be a better place," said Winer.
Incorporating food trucks in the area can result in long-term investment in the city, according to Winer. Several restaurants have proven that theory in Cleveland including Hodge's and StrEAT Burger. Both have opened up a sit-down restaurant as a result of operating a food truck in the area.
Winer and co-owner Steve Sabo are planning to open their own sit-down restaurant in the future.
"Where we choose our restaurant is where we get the most support."
Graham says the Downtown Akron Partnership is looking for a balance.
"Respecting the need for those brick-and-mortar businesses to stay in business and also respecting the need to invite and support things that are trendy and exciting," said Graham.
According to Graham, DAP has reached out to food truck operators, inviting them to local events in the city.
Graham says they are still moving forward with open discussions and hopes new legislation can resolve some of the issues facing both sides.