Mérida, Yucatán — The number of sidewalk vendors in the city center has fallen by 70 percent, and organized flea markets are said to be the reason.
The city has tried for years to control the number of street vendors who clog sidewalks and compete with brick-and-mortar businesses. Its ambitious “Casona del Downtown” mall has disappointed merchants, who were lured in with child daycare services and sanitary facilities. But customers have not been attracted to the mall.
Last year, officials counted about 1,500 street vendors in historic center; today they estimate 420 are still operating. The reason: City officials, working with the chamber of commerce, have stressed licensing and regulations — and have also given traders the option of setting up shop at flea markets, operating mainly in parks, around all around the city.
At the flea markets, inspectors are on the watch for illegally imported goods.