Thriving food cart needs help

Food Carts Held Captive

The Short Story:

Melody had two food carts at one pod. One of those carts had a lease and the other cart did not have a lease. The lease mentioned above expired on Dec 31st and Melody tried to move both carts out of that pod. The Pod landlord held both carts captive and would not allow Melody to move either of her foods carts.

Melody had to hire an attorney and incur attorney fees in order to get the carts off the property

In addition to the significant emotional stress of being bullied, threatened, and hassled, Melody has been faced with the cost of moving, hiring lawyers, retrofitting the carts to work at a different pod, and days of lost business; that is why she is asking for help.

The longer story is below.

Also - At the very bottom you will find a detailed explanation about why we are hoping to raise $10,000. Even if we do not raise the full $10,000 we are hoping for, we will be very grateful for whatever we can get.

This has been a very trying and difficult time.

Thriving Food Cart in Need of Support

The Longer Story:

Melody is a food cart pioneer who opened her first food cart in 2000, a hot dog stand, on the corner of 5th and Main in downtown Portland. Her first food cart shut down in 2002. Earlier last year, in April of 2016, Melody’s journey came full circle when an opportunity to reenter the food cart business presented itself. Melody opened yet another food cart in Clackamas and Rose City Waffles was born.

After pulling from every resource available Melody and her partner Shanna made the dream of returning to the food cart industry a reality.

Months of dedication and hard work allowed her to build a fan base of loyal customers who would not only visit for the amazing food, but her heart as she connected with every individual.

Rose City Waffles is a unique food cart built on creativity and passion with a vision to reach out to the community and make a positive impact through connection.

Melody expresses that the feedback has been truly rewarding, “To have repeat customers tell you they look forward to seeing you every Saturday morning makes the journey and hard work all worth the while.”

In November, an opportunity presented itself to open a second food cart. Because of her love of food carts, love being a chef and the joy she receives from interacting with her customers, Melody and Shanna made this a second dream come true.

Winter months are the slowest for food carts and unfortunately things took a turn for the worse. Negative publicity from previously increased rent and other things, and diminished customer traffic took a toll on both of Melody’s food carts. It was time to seek other options; as these food carts were and are not only her means of living, but also her love and passion as well.

Rose City Waffles food cart pod lease ended December 31st, 2016 and the second cart had no lease. Melody found a new location to move both carts to in order to rebuild her financial situation for the better. Upon her lease ending, she was unable to move either food cart due to the landlord not allowing her to do so.

Without any right to do so, the landlord held both carts captive for 3 days. The landlord held the key to the gate surrounding the food pod and did not allow either cart to be moved to the new location that eagerly awaited their arrival.

As the carts sat for 3 days food began to spoil and money was not being made. Melody was unable to get movement or remove either cart until she hired an attorney at her own cost.

The landlord refused to return the security deposit for either cart multiple times in writing. Per the lease, the landlord has 30 days from the December 31st lease expiration to return those deposits. If the landlord doesn’t return the deposits, additional lawyer fees will be accrued to get that money back.

With the help of the attorney Melody hired, the carts have now been moved to the new location but there are fees that have not been met. The delay in moving, the retrofitting required due to the previous pod’s requirements, unexpected lawyer fees and lost days of business have left Melody and Shanna financially and emotionally drained.

In order to keep going, Melody has reached a place where she needs to ask for help. Customers continue to reach out and ask where the new location is and when both carts will open. Your support of this gofundme would be greatly appreciated.

With your help, Melody hopes to open Rose City Waffles and Oregon Cheesesteak Co. very soon at the Carts on Foster Food Cart Pod located at 52nd and Foster.

On a positive note - The landlord at the new pod has been very supportive and Melody is looking forward to being part of a positive and affirming food cart community.

“Thank you for your support and a BIG thank to each of you who donate and help us keep going” – Melody

We are asking for help to raise $10,000. We are sure that sounds like a lot of money. Here is breakdown of those of the costs that we have incurred recently:

$500 for lawyer fees to stop our carts from being held captive. A possible additional $1,000 – 2,000 in attorney fees might be needed to recover the deposits owed to us.

$500 to replace food that spoiled while the carts sat for 3 days being held captive.

$1,800 loss income (profit) due to the days that our carts were held captive.  This figure is based on our Square figures for the last two weeks of December 2016. This loss of income has impacted our ability to make the payments on our food carts.

$1,400 for moving costs for both carts.

$200 for Multnomah County business licenses. $100 for Rose City Waffle and $100 for Oregon Cheesesteak Co., Both are needed because we moved to a new county.

$1,160 for Multnomah County Health department permits. $580 for Rose City Waffle and $580 for Oregon Cheesesteak Co. needed because we moved to a new county.

$2000 Deposit to be paid to new Food Cart Pod for both carts.

$2,600 in costs to retrofit both carts from natural gas back to propane.

Here is the explanation for that amount -

Food Carts most often (99% of the time) are manufactured to use propane. Both of the carts we purchased were configured for propane.

We opened our first cart (Rose City Waffles) April of 2016 and for about a month we used propane, after we had been operating at the pod for a few weeks the food cart pod landlord required us to convert over to natural gas.

This requirement necessitated that we remove and install water heaters – from propane water heaters to natural gas water heaters, and two of the appliances needed to have attachments suitable for natural gas installed --the deep fryer, and the oven/stovetop.

When we opened the second food cart, we had to do the same thing to it.

All of the other food cart pods require you to use propane and not natural gas. Leaving at the end of December has meant that we need to once again change both carts back to propane and some of our appliances have to be completely replaced and some of our appliances can be retrofitted with a conversion kit.

Hindsight is 20/20 and looking we back we likely would have been better off not to have made these changes back in May, 2016. We did not know then, what we know now.

$1,100 is for the propane water heaters, $300 for misc. retrofitting, $100 for new hook ups for the appliances --from natural gas to back to propane,
$600 for a propane deep fryer for the hot dog cart which is becoming the cheesesteak cart, the one we had could not be converted.
$500 for a propane oven/stovetop for the waffle cart, the one we had could not be converted.

The needed funds come to $10,160.

Owners: Melody and Shanna


Shanna Irvin
Portland, OR

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