SUGAR GROVE -- Mychelle Prichard, or the "Hot Dog Lady" as she's known in Sugar Grove, didn't set up her hot dog stand on the nearest sidewalk and isn't lugging her cart down the street.
Instead, she's using the Chase Bank parking lot on Route 47 to sell her dogs.
Prichard's shop, as a temporary vendor operating on private property, has village officials taking another look at how temporary vendors are regulated.
At the July 6 Committee of the Whole meeting, board members discussed how to regulate the non-mobile temporary vendors in the village, considering limiting vendors by geographic area, number and type of vendors.
Although it isn't a problem now, village planner Mike Ferencak said mobile vendors can serve as competition to permanent restaurants.
"If you are set up right next to McDonald's, you can take away their sales," he said. "It has become an issue in other cities. We're just trying to be ahead of the curve."
But Prichard doesn't think it will be a problem.
"I don't feel like I'm huge competition to anyone," she said.
Her shop is 640 feet away from a Subway, according to board reports.
Ferencak said allowing mobile vendors can be seen as unfair to permanent businesses that add to the village's tax base and have invested in their building.
Currently, the zoning ordinance prohibits any use of private property vending unless specifically permitted, Ferencak said. But Prichard said that although an official ordinance doesn't exist, she did register with the village, paid a $50 fee, submitted to a background check and provided state and Health Department registration. She also had to prove that Chase Bank allowed her to operate in its parking lot.
Mobile street vendors, like an ice cream truck, pay the village $250 to sell their wares.
"I didn't just buy a cart and set it up here," Prichard said.
Other towns around the Fox Valley also are facing questions about mobile vendors.
In April, the Naperville City Council voted to extend the permit for Joey's Red Hots, a downtown hot dog cart, to operate for another 90 days. The cart had been operating on a one-year trial permit since last year.
The vote also directed Naperville staff to create a policy for mobile vending carts by Aug. 1.
The vote came after complaints from downtown Naperville business owners that the cart unfairly competes with brick-and-mortar restaurants. Joe Hornbaker, owner of the cart, paid a $100 permit fee to the city, but the Downtown Naperville Alliance requested that he pay $700 in fees next year.
At the beginning of July, Sandwich instituted an ordinance to regulate roadside vendors, allowing 10 licenses a year and requiring a $250 fee be paid to the city clerk. The licensing requirement does not apply to businesses that have been in the city for at least three years prior to the ordinance or farmers' produce or meat they raised.
Ferencak said he has had an increased number of calls about vending in Sugar Grove in the last few years.
Prichard, a Sugar Grove resident, opened her hot dog operation last year after years in the hospitality industry.
Monday through Friday, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Prichard is in the Chase Bank parking lot. She also works with the Park District and the farmers market. On an average day, she said she serves 25 customers, paying $2.50 for a hot dog or $4.25 for the hot dog special.
She said Chase approached her about setting up her cart in its lot, but wouldn't say if she pays to rent the space.
"I want to get established and the support of the town," she said. "My customers don't want to see me go."
Prichard said she paid off her cart in the first few months. Carts can cost between $2,500 and $12,000, and she also pays licensing and insurance fees each year.
John Quigley got the same idea when he set up Q's Grill and Takeout at Route 47 and Jericho Road in unincorporated Kane County. It's his second season serving up food like pulled pork sandwiches, and he said it's been busy. Last year, Q's was open May through December.
Quigley, a Naperville resident, said he pays the owners of the Sugar Grove Family Fun Center next door to rent part of the parking lot.
"It works together," he said. "It brings business for both of us."
Quigley initially planned to open a permanent shop next to the fun center, but said county officials seemed more supportive of a mobile station. Q's isn't quite mobile -- the unit has been on blocks for 16 months.
"I don't know what it was. There are no real restaurants around," he said.