Tradition vs. Trouble: Charleston vendors battle over Palmetto rose sales

Tradition vs. Trouble: Charleston vendors battle over Palmetto rose sales

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Newly posted signs in downtown Charleston voice years of frustration among some business owners on South Market Street.

The signs read, "No vending of palmetto roses at this location.  Violators will be prosecuted."

Downtown retailers like Kasey Ham of Sunglass Warehouse, say the traditional value of the hand-crafted flower is being overshadowed by trouble.

"They're very loud, they're rambunctious, they throw trash everywhere," she said.

"I just wish that there was somebody to monitor what the kids were doing and a place for them to sell them, just as a legitimate business somewhere."

Years ago, the City of Charleston created an entrepreneurship program, teaching young adults between 9-18 years old how to make the Palmetto Rose.  Students are required to attend a business camp, and are also given the opportunity to sell at designated locations downtown, on weekends, during the summer, and over the holidays.

Among those locations include South Market Street, the Charleston Battery at White Point, and the front gates of the South Carolina Aquarium.

City of Charleston Programming Superintendent Crystal Reed says there have been complaints from retailers in the past.  Reed acknowledges many of the youth vendors are not a part of the city program, and are encouraged to either join, or acquire a peddler's permit.

Other disturbances are being referred to the City of Charleston Police Department.

"I don't like that they are recognized just for the disturbance.," said Sandra Bridge, a Charleston vendor of over 20 years, who supports the youth vendors.

"They put in some long hard work hours, and they do a very good job most of the time."

"The push is all to buy local and go local. How local can you get."

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