ARLINGTON, Va.—Yesterday the Institute for Justice (IJ) sent a letter to Forsyth County, Georgia, demanding officials reverse their decision to deny a business license to a small, mobile flower vendor.
Andy Forde recently decided he wanted to start his own business. First, he sought a permit to run a mobile hot dog stand, but both Forsyth and Hall Counties denied him. After the denial, he attempted to get permission from Forsyth County to sell flowers from a covered wagon, thinking county officials would be more open to that.
“I thought: ‘who could argue with a flower cart?’ Well, I found him in Forsyth County,” Andy said.
Under county law, Andy is required to not only obtain a mobile vending permit, but also a county business license. Andy followed all of the steps to obtain the business license, but the county denied his application.
“I was shocked and disappointed when the county denied my business permit,” Andy added. “I simply want to make an honest living for myself by selling flowers to my neighbors and others throughout Forsyth County.”
Andy claims county officials told him if they permitted his business, they’d “open the door to $3 T-Bone salesmen” and that they wanted to “protect” established businesses from competition.
“Denying someone a business license in order to protect existing businesses smacks of economic protectionism, and that violates the Georgia Constitution,” said IJ Attorney Daniel Rankin, the author of the letter. “Andy deserves the opportunity to start his own business without jumping through arbitrary hoops.”
IJ has successfully fought against similar license denials. In 2020, IJ won in the Georgia Supreme Court, allowing a law suit to move forward against a law that required those who want to teach women how to breastfeed to obtain the equivalent of an advanced degree. Last month, that law was struck down as unconstitutional by a trial court. Additionally, through its National Street Vending Initiative, IJ has been fighting for the rights of food truck owners and other street vendors to earn an honest living by challenging overly burdensome licensing rules.