A Vendors Row: An Incompetent Chamber


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I want to first say that this years 4th of July was a beautiful display of Patriotism and a great celebration of the 241st Anniversary  of our Declaration of Independence. The Fireworks were stunning. The Weather was somewhat a problem. It is hard to get a One to Two thousand people to feel comfortable in 115 Degrees.

The City

For a vendor, the City of Twentynine Palms Parks and Recreation provided excellent venue services. We were all provided Electric power and had access to fresh potable water. Lucky Park was lush and green. The pool bustled with children and families. The facility is something we can all take pride in. Susan Luckie would have been proud to see it this year.

The Chamber

The Twentynine Palms Chamber of Commerce is a whole other kettle of fish.

First, we managed to cover our costs… barely. We got  stuck on the back row along with a Native American Frybread vendor and Bruce’s Coyote Cafe.

In an event like this usually about 2 in 10 will buy from vendor row. In this case let’s agree for argument sake that two thousand people came to the event,  you will have 400 people that are going to spend money on food and drink along vendor row. Depending on all things being fair a vendor would have to sell to 100 of those buyers to cover their wholesale food costs, insurance, travel expenses, labor and other costs just to break even. What we had is Eleven Food Vendors! Eleven divided 400 equals 37 buyers per vendor.  Know that some did very while some did not.

One of Reach Out Morongo Basin’s important fund raising events is the 4th of July. This year two vendors were added it seems to purposely undermine the good works of Reach Out Morongo Basin.

We had a Frybread vendor next to us. She traveled well over 100 miles to be here. Bruce brought his BBQ with all the sides he could carry. Both Bruce and the Frybread vendor came for business. All of us were sold a bill of goods. No way would I have drug my Food Trailer to this event if I would have known that I was to be placed in the back 40.

Setting up as a sanitary food establishment is not a cheap venture. The Heath Department cares that you maintain temperature control, cleanliness and current licenses and permits. Along with the Health Department issues you also have food costs, costs for some are higher than others.

If every potential sale bought $10 worth of food and drink you are talking about $4000.00 in sales.  Divided by 11 vendors you have $364.00 apiece for each of the vendors if all is fair. Some Vendors did better than others. Some did not.

All vendors spent well over $364.00 in preparation for the event, each with the anticipation of making a tidy sum. Most were totally disappointed.

Too many food vendors makes all vendors loose money and inturn, makes them very unhappy.

At $80 a piece for each food vendor, the chamber made a quick $1,000 bucks. For the shortsightedness of stacking the food court with as many vendors as the chamber could get, they have made most of the vendors unwilling to play that game again.

A Simple Solution

As this is not my first rodeo with Local Chambers of Commerce, I’ve learned  you can only believe about half of what they tell you and the other half is a lie.

The Chambers have long ago stopped representing the business community. While many chambers are supported by their local city governments, they do not support local government effectively either.

Chambers are more or tourist information centers but in all honesty they are not at all good at that either.

The City of 29 Palms should in all fairness and good governance, cut their ties with the local  chamber.  The City should put the money they plow into the chamber into other more productive investments.

The city needs to quit coddling these folks.

The city or maybe a specific event planning organization should take over park Activities and most community events. We sure as hell need someone who knows what they are doing.

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3 Responses to A Vendors Row: An Incompetent Chamber

  1. larry briggs
    larry briggs July 5, 2017 at 5:15 pm

    Were all 11 vendors food vendors?

  2. spearman1ca
    spearman1ca July 5, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Larry, as you remember well, I fought this connection of the city funding the Chamber from the start. Money and a building all at city expense. Ridiculous!

    It is wrong and not a smart expenditure of tax dollars.

    The Chamber needs to live on its own. If it can’t then it will die. It is the free market.

    I have had an issue with the Chamber once it got involved in politics.

    Time for the city to cut the umbilical cord once and for all.


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