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To support local merchants and businesses, the Town of Elizabethtown recently introduced new policies dealing with itinerant sales in the town’s area.

Itinerant Retailers are retailers who do not have a fixed dedicated place of business, such as pop-up shops and food trucks. They move their shops around and direct their sales to the consumers of the goods, so they are retailers.

According to Town Staff, these policies are needed to protect the businesses and citizens since itinerant retailers can fly under the radar when it comes to adhering to ordinances and regulations that a stable, established business is required to meet like health inspections, sales tax collection, precautions, and safety.

Itinerant retailers of merchandise and food are limited to the areas zoned as Commercial, C1, C2 and the Central Business District. These include most of West Broad Street from HWY 701 to Greenwood Road, East Broad Street from HWY 701 to David Street, and HWY 701 from the Cape Fear River Bridge to just before the 87 Bypass.   

All itinerant retail sales, whether food-related or merchandise, must do the following:

  • Apply for a permit from the Town of Elizabethtown’s Planning Department. The cost is $75 for a one-time, one day use permit or $250 for the year (July – June).
  • Provide written permission from the property owner for each location where the unit will operate.
  • Can not be located within:
    • Seventy-five feet (75’) of the main entrance of the nearest restaurant or retailer during the posted hours of operation of the brick-and-mortar location,
    • Five feet (5’} of any fire hydrant, sidewalk, utility box, handicap ramps or building entrance.

Once set-up at their locations, they must meet these additional requirements:

  • Place signage and equipment within three feet of the mobile unit.
  • Not obstruct fire lanes, vehicle access or pedestrian walkways.
  • Not use amplified microphones or bullhorns.


The sale of food processed on location has further provisions. A mobile unit must obtain a permit issued by Bladen County Environmental Health or the equivalent from another county. If selling food from a tent, a fire inspection will be required and must be completed prior to opening for business. Tent sales must also arrange for inspection from the Bladen County Environmental Health Department. For more information, contact the Bladen County Department of Environmental Health at 910-862-6852.


Organizers of special events can encourage mobile units to participate. The event organizers should contact Town Staff with date, location of event and other information. The organizers may charge their own fees and vendors do not need to obtain a town permit. If using itinerant food vendors or trucks, organizers should contact Bladen County Environmental Health on the rules and regulations regarding temporary food establishment (TFE) and requirements for festival organizers.

The Elizabethtown Planning Department suggests that all temporary retail and food sale vendors contact the office first before planning to set up to alleviate any concerns or the potential of being issued a fine or citation. Itinerant merchants will be asked to fill out a Special Use Permit, available on the Town’s website. The Planning office can be reached at 910-862-2066.

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