Well, as some of you may know I had a peanut brittle booth at the 4th Avenue Street Fair this year. I want to report to the food vendors about food vending at this event in Tucson, Arizona. As you know the 4th Avenue Street Fair is huge. It occurs twice a year one in December and then in the spring, usually in March. Competition to get into this event is very very high and there is a intense jury process that starts at Zapp For years I have hesitated in trying to get into this event as I believed the process to be too difficult - after all peanut brittle is a food product. My product is however pre-packaged and currently I have a wholesale food license from the state of Colorado. This license gives me a right to sell anywhere in the USA, including the 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson. Now, the 4th Avenue Merchants Association takes good care of its potential food vendors - and acts as a buffer between the Pima Health Department and the 4th Avenue event. My experience with the Pima Health Department in this regard was nothing short of dismal. Don't call them if you want into this street fair. Please just fill out the Zapp Application and once accepted into the show follow the instructions of the Merchants Association. Calling the Pima Health Department is a waste of time. They sincerely appear to not know what they are doing. I tried a few times. It appears that some of the people answering the phone there do not even know about this street fair. This is dismal. This fair is huge and very near the downtown area. Then there is a question of what regulations to follow at the street fair regarding screening in your booth. The Pima County Health Department told me one thing and the street fair another. Since the street fair is successful and its their venue - do what they tell you. So if you are a new food vendor hesitating because of the regulations concerning food vending in Arizona, and you want to do this event, just contact the Merchants Association and leave the Pima Health Department out of the loop. This is a great event for a new food vendor to do especially if you have a great new product that has not been at the street fair before.
I sell Peanut Brittle Candy as a side business. Seems like a simple enough idea. Right? My peanut brittle is wonderful and the product cooks at 300 degrees. Now, in order to sell a product like this to stores in Colorado you need a Wholesale Food License and a Sales Tax License and a Business License. Having a wholesale food license gives you the right to sell to business across the country. It will also give you the right to do events in different states with just the wholesale license. We have made it difficult to get all this. The process is quite hard. First, in Colorado your product has to be made in a registered wholesale food manufacturin and/or storage facility. and it has to be approved by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. So how does the average person, with no experience find such a facility? The first thing is to find a local business that has a registered kitchen with the Colorado Department of Public Health. Then talk to the owner and explain to them what you want to do and make some kind of deal to give them a cut of your income. This actually is the easiest part of the whole thing. The easiest way to get started with this process is just to call the Division of Environmental Health and Sustainability at 303-692-3620. They are very helpful and will tell you what to do. They cannot help you with sales tax however. More steps: apply for wholesale sales tax license Doing Events as a vendor in the State of Colorado I hate to say this, it depends on the county. Some counties will take your wholesale license and need nothing else. Other counties have a mound of paperwork for you to jump through. Call the public health department of the county in which you want to do the event. Sometimes getting to the right department can be tricky, you need to be persistent and tell them exactly what you want to do. To Get a Single Special Event License (Colorado) -- For a temporary location other than your regular business location and valid for one event only where there are three or more vendors. This is a two-year license which is free to all standard sales tax license holders. To apply for this use the Special Event Application (DR 0589) form or use our Special Events Fill-in Forms service. To Get a Multiple Special Event License -- If you [...]
Okay, Here I go again. Some of you know that I make a wonderful food product. I make Peanut Brittle and Agava Peanut Brittle. Last year I had a state of Colorado wholesale food license to sell it in the state of Colorado. With this license I could sell in stores and do most of the craft events in the state. Some of the events had specific county rules however. Now I want to do the 4th Avenue Street Fair in Tucson this December and the Green Valley Farmers Market, in Green Valley, Arizona. Now for those of you in the know, you know that this is a big undertaking. You have to have the booth,make sure it is weather secure, the tables, the signage, the product and all the supplies. BUT, what is the worst of this whole experience is the getting the licensing!!!!! There is a audio interview from the 4th Avenue Merchants Association from last year about selling food at the Fourth Avenue Street Fairs.The interview kinda makes it seem as if the process is fairly easy. Somehow I "think" not. I kinda of get the feeling that Pima County and Tucson doesn't want any more food vendors and that will do anything they can do to prevent me from selling my Peanut Brittle. So here we go again, this is "exactly" why I have done this before. I have a wonderful product. So first they tell me online I need a "Temporary Food Establishment License" BUT first I need a Business License before I can get the Temporary Food Establishment license. Of course, they are not telling me - or even suggesting WHERE I get the Business License from. WATCH for my next post - and if you know something about this stuff - leave a comment. I am thinking that if I can get through the maze - maybe we will tackle another city and state next. That is if it doesn't kill me.