BVI News

Permission needed to operate! RT seeing increase in ‘pop-up shops’

Not any of the pop-up vendors mentioned in the story.

Amid an “increase” in the emergence of pop-up shops in Road Town, City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards is warning residents and would-be operators that a temporary trade license and permission must be sought before setting up these temporary points of sale.

She told BVI News that her office has seen a mixture of food and clothing-type vendors popping up around the territory’s capital in recent times.

Brathwaite-Edwards further said some of these pop-up business operators have trade licences but are not following the specifications of them.

“People believe if they have a trade license they can do what they want. No. If you have a trade license to sell food, it is to sell food in location ‘X’. If you have a trade license to sell clothes, you have a trade license to sell clothes in location ‘X’. The two cannot be mixed,” the City Manager told BVI News recently.

“We have businesses that are operating within the confines of the city that are stepping outside. We don’t want the city to be an area on a daily basis with pop-up shops and people doing that kind of business. We don’t want that to be prevalent in the city.”

She continued: “We have seen an increase [in pop-up shops] … and what we are saying is, permission must be sought and it must be granted because your trade license specifies exactly where you are supposed to be operating from.”

Follow the rules

In the meantime, Brathwaite-Edwards said some persons are operating these types of businesses on a more permanent basis but with no intention of renting or owning permanent storefronts in the city. 

“We have people who feel like ‘I needed to make a little money, so I need to come to town to set up my shop. We don’t have a problem on occasion — you have [leeway] during festival, Christmas, etcetera. But for it to be a daily routine [is an issue]. Keep in mind that I have [other] people who are paying leases, rent, electricity, water, and then you come with your pop-up shop, do your business and walkway. You have not made any contribution to the city of Road Town and its upkeep, its development, its positive growth, nothing,” Brathwaite-Edwards argued.

She said her office is currently working in tandem with the Trade Department and Ministry of Transportation, Works & Utilities to get the issue addressed.


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  1. Devon says:

    We keep hearing about this from you for a long time now… just make them pack their stuff up and leave !

    Like 45
    • Leave it slone says:

      Why don’t you spend your time investigating the corruption and stealing by the government politicians and employees. Leave the people that are trying to feed their families alone with your bulls**t regulations.

      Like 7
      Dislike 30
  2. Local says:

    My question is when are we going to stop them from taking over the market area? and getting the market area back the way it use to be. Where have the roots(orginal way of the market functioning) of the BVI gone????

    Like 24
    Dislike 3
  3. Pretty Simple says:

    Inspect these “businesses”, all of whom should be displaying their Trade License prominently. No license? Issue a fine or summons to court and have them shut down immediately. It is a very simple matter, whether in New York City, London or Roat Town – no vendor’s license, no vending operation. Repeated offenses bring criminal charges and fines. Get an officer or two on the street to check licenses on a daily basis.

    Like 30
  4. Over and over says:

    How long will this keep coming up. For years now we know this has been a problem and it needs address. All you have to do is go around and issued a formal warning to get a license or move. It’s really that simple.

    Like 17
  5. What!!!! says:

    City manager all we hear from you is talk, why are so many car washes allowed to use public parking space, there is a new one popping up nearly every week. Mobile laundry been taking up parking space across from hospital for weeks now.Please stop talking and start doing.

    Like 28
  6. Mister Muffin says:

    The same should apply to those walking around selling cakes and cupcakes.

    Like 9
    Dislike 10
  7. reader says:

    The lawlessness will continue until you start to enforce the law.

    The folks will keep doing what they do because they can get away with it.

    Until then stop tipping people off hoping it will scare them into doing the right thing and start pouncing on them while in the act, see how effective that will be.

    Like 16
    • .....AND THEN says:

      …..You enforce the law and get a call from a Minister saying leave the ‘small man’ earn his money because ‘small man’ has 20 family members that support whichever party. Give it a f***ing rest, this place will NEVER CHANGE until politics is removed from every little thing. Want a better example? The Government spent over $80 mil on a development on Wickham’s Cay, aka the Cruise Pier Development, but take a step right outside of the park and what does it look like? A f***ing free for all, little Haiti. We have no shame or vision whatsoever, none!

      Like 27
      Dislike 1
  8. Oh My! says:

    Pop up shops are popping up in nearly epidemic proportions, not only in Road Town, but in other areas around Tortola.

    Can’t speak for the other islands, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are not in vogue elsewhere. After all, anything goes in the BVI.

    Situation needs to be addressed holistically. Legislators, here’s a problem. Please address it.

    Like 13
  9. outta hand says:

    These island people bringing in their nasty habits and now that we give out all those belongers it will get worst

    Like 9
    Dislike 21
  10. TL says:

    I believe that if you have a Trade Licence you should be able to do business anywhere in the BVI.
    Trade licences should not restrict a business to operate only at location “x”.

    I do agree that we need to control the popup shops that are setting up anywhere without prior approval. to curb this…first verify if the vendor has a trade licence … then verify if the vendor has had approval to setup. If not have them removed immediately, or impose some sort of penalty.

    The City Manager and the Trade Dept. must realize the shortage of affordable and suitable commercial spaces that are available in and around Road Town. What are they doing to help the situation? Its really unfair to hold a persons Trade Licence approval, because they can’t find a place to operate.

    Meanwhile, some business are allowed to setup shops in Public spaces rent free, and we the tax payers are funding them. Other businesses are forced to pay high rents/leases.

    Also look at those business who already have prime spaces, but choose to expand their square footage by placing “sale” tents in parking spaces and on sidewalks…blocking parking and pedestrians and sometimes obstructing traffic… all this should be looked at.

    The City Manager should stop talking and take action… but actions should be fair and balanced.

    Like 12
    Dislike 6
    • Ausar says:

      You’re wrong, “TL”!

      If you’re given a trade license for a specific location, you should operate in that location only.


      Ya wantta operate in annudda locashun?

      Get the license to operate in that locashun!

      Thank you Ms. Edwards, for offering a semblance of order, out of this chaos!

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
  11. Bull Bud says:

    The City Manager needs to address all of the stores that display clothes and other goods outside their store, in the street, on the sidewalks and elsewhere. It is ugly and needs to stop.

    Like 13
  12. ok says:

    BLAG< BLAH< BLAH, same old story for years and more prominent since Hurricanes in 2017. And where does Environmental Health come into play. These pop-ups have no bathrooms and sanitary issues. Given the rules for opening a restaurant or catering business.

  13. =( says:

    Car wash everywhere as well. The ones in town thinks they own the car park..causing traffic and blocking parking areas.

    Like 11
    Dislike 1
  14. Curious says:

    Shutting them down and give RTW the sale…
    Some fools will never understand why the rich is getting richer and the poos gets poorer..

    Like 3
    Dislike 1
  15. Me says:

    Blah blah blah. I have alot of respect for the City Manager but sometimes she is caught between a rock and a hard place. Trying to enforce laws then a politician or “big one” calls and says “don’t trouble that man/woman” what is she to do then?
    Sometimes it looks like she is all talk and no action but persons do not realise all what goes on behind the scenes.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  16. ... says:

    Its all well an good with a steady pay check. There needs to be some way for people who have a trade license to have their wares set out on a temporary basis especially farmers who bring an authentic caribbean feel to the town.

    I for one would rather a few pop up hustles than a few pop up robberies.

    All this talk about little money or small money. Set our a space where people can hustle in peace The rent for living and the price of food is already high sky.

  17. Well says:

    There are some peoplewho have tried to rent spaces to do business but the renter have rents way high espeacialy ..some people cant afford a over head… look at some areas there this lady she was the first person to have pop shop doing gift basket out of virgin queen restaurant even befor blosom florest .boby supermaket.or any place esles …she offers valuable products …..keeo her standard….and good at what she does…neat and clean…and aleays displays her trade licence….people like that the goverment should not have a problem with and she only out on occassions she original and like doing business with her….. all those came after her

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