Washington, D.C., has a thriving, delicious food truck culture. On any given weekday, trucks pull up around the city at lunch time to serve barbecue, Indian, Mexican, cupcakes, and much more, often drawing long lines. But now the food trucks' business is suffering for the same reason local businesses outside of national parks are having problems: Republicans shut down the government.
Sales at several gourmet trucks are down 50 percent or more; another has had to lay off employees; and others have decided not to operate, or operate less frequently, until the shutdown is over. [...]Granted, Republicans talk about valuing small businesses a lot more than they actually value them. Nonetheless, it's striking how many small businesses, so praised by Republicans, are being hit hard and quickly by the shutdown. What's a relatively small blip (so far) for giant corporations can be fatal for entrepreneurs trying to build a business with little cushion against the kind of big drop-offs the food trucks are seeing. Will the government reopen and food truck business pick back up before the slow winter season hits? That's up to House Republicans. But it's clear that they care less about promoting small business than they do about hurting federal workers and poor people.
The proprietors of the Stix truck have already cut loose their prep and grill cooks “because we’re unable to pay them,” co-owner Leah Perez said. “It’s just pretty sad out there.”
Josh Saltzman, co-owner of the PORC truck, has decided to take his vehicle off the streets. It took just one day of vending for Saltzman to make the call. On Tuesday, his barbecue truck stopped at Franklin Square, a normally reliable sales location not dependent on federal workers. His sales were off by 50 percent.