Aaron Ashley and Kaiser Huston eat at the Eats in the Streets on June 21 in Ortonivlle. Photo by Patrick McAbee.
By David Fleet
Ortonville- “Eats in the Streets” was a hit.
That’s the report from Downtown Development Authority Director Matt Jenkins Executive following the “Eats in the Streets” Food Truck Rally and Ortonville Lions Club-Culpepper & Merriweather Circus in the village on June 21.
“Several factors made it a success,” said Jenkins. “First was the collaboration between the DDA and Lions Club which hosted the one day circus on Thursday. It was just the right mix for success. The weather was also just perfect, sunshine and low humidity. It was a perfect opportunity to do something that could enhance the circus yet focus on the downtown businesses.”
More then 2,000 responded on Facebook to the DDA expressing they would be interested in the village event, added Jenkins.
“The majority of those who attended were from the village and the two townships,” he said.
Jenkins was concerned that adding food trucks to the downtown circus event would adversely impact area eateries.
“In advance we had conversations with everybody,” he said. “We reached out the local restaurants it was how do we get you all involved. It was the first time for the food trucks. The way it turned out everyone had traffic from the event.”“Seven food trucks were invited to come downtown on Thursday night,” said Jenkins. “There was no charge for the food trucks to come to Ortonville.If you don’t deliver, they won’t come back a second time. After the event they (food truck vendors) agreed $75-$100 would be the amount to charge.”
Of the seven food trucks, five sold out, reported the DDA.
The DDA also subsidized and distributed $600 worth of “Downtown Dollars” to visitors during the evening event.
There were two types provided to customers: One was good for all the downtown businesses and the other covered the Hometown Eats.
“The merchandise take them as cash then are reimbursed through the DDA,” he said. “The idea here is to get our businesses involved. Everyone we spoke to had traffic from the event.”
Papa Bellas’ Pizza was overwhelmed by food truck event.
“We had a good night, we were really unprepared for that many people,” said Joe D’Anna, who along with Mark Bell own Papa Bellas.
“We thought we’d be slower that night due to the other food trucks in town. But as it turned out that was not the case. Next to Septemberfest it was the best night ever.”
Melissa Bosek, owner of Tropical Smoothie, 1152 S Ortonville Road Suite 100, said business did picked up that evening.
“We were busier that night,” said Bosek. “While the food trucks are a fine still it’s the local businesses that should take top priority in these events.”