Palmetto Rose sales deemed illegal for kids not licensed

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - With Charleston's booming tourism season around the corner things could be a little different.

The City of Charleston has placed signs along the market reading "NOTICE The SALE of Palmetto Roses by Roaming Peddlers is ILLEGAL."

"The issue is non-licensed kids that sell the product, go through the market and they roam and some become a little unruly," said Director of Livability and Tourism Dan Riccio.

Riccio said vendors came to the city leaders to try and have something done.

"The merchants are very happy that the signage is going up," he said."They want to have an environment where the tourists can come."

Riccio said it's now illegal for kids not involved in the city's rose kid program, or without a license to sell the roses. According to Riccio, some of the unlicensed kids have been causing trouble.

"They were misbehaving," Riccio said. "At times being unruly, and there was police involvement."

One vendor who has worked in the market for nearly three decades said she witnessed that first hand.

"They were disrupting business," the veteran vendor said."They were hawking at customers, tourists who didn't like it and who felt obligated to give them money. And when [the kids] didn't receive the money, they often had some not too nice language."

The signs, and ordinance along with it, doesn't affect kids in the city's Palmetto Artisan program.

Riccio said kids with the program wear a special shirt and have an identification.

They are also supervised, have rules, and learn about business.

Riccio said there were concerns with kids that were not in the program, and this new ordinance aims to create a safe environment for kids to sell the roses in an area that can also teach tourists about the program through kiosks set up in central locations.

Riccio says if kids want to continue selling the Palmetto Roses they need to join the program.

Jonzetta Taylor, who has worked at the market nearly 50 years and since she was 4-years-old, said the kids should be allowed to sell without joining the city's program.

"To me as long as the children are being respectful, I feel as though they should be able to sell their roses," Taylor said. "I don't think they should make it a rule to go the class."

Taylor said she hasn't had any problems with the kids, but she can't account for how they act when they're not around her. She also said she resonates with the kids selling them.

"That's their life," she said."That's their livelihood, and sometimes it's all they have. If you stop a child from doing that they may resort to selling illegal things."

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