Thomas M. Tunney

Swapping fryers for fitting rooms: Chicago looks to regulate mobile boutiques

Swapping fryers for fitting rooms: Chicago looks to regulate mobile boutiques

After years of contentious efforts to regulate food trucks, Chicago is tackling a new kind of mobile business: trucks that swap fryers for fitting rooms and hawk merchandise, not meals.

The city in 2016 gave about a half-dozen mobile boutiques — selling apparel, shoes and artwork — permission to hit the streets for a two-year trial period. City officials now want to establish rules governing them on a more permanent basis before their temporary business permits expire June 15.

The challenge? Catering to entrepreneurs seeking a novel way to launch or grow small businesses without making things tougher for their bricks-and-mortar counterparts or inviting unintended...

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