Angled up like a supermarket display, the dwindling selection of grapes, apples, avocados and watermelon at Vasquez Fresh Fruit portends success for Emenegildo "Kiko" Vasquez. "See, it's almost empty now because everyone buys stuff," he says at 5:30 p.m. on Aug. 3-his first day at the location.
Pitched under a tree in front of 3700 Monument St., the stand is Vasquez's first try at making a living in Baltimore, where his wife runs a salon. Before last week, Vasquez says, he commuted weekly to a stand in New York City. He says he scouted this busy stretch of industrial road for two hours before deciding to set up here. It was easy to get the permit, he says, because "no one sells here."
Still it wasn't easy to get started. "The health department says, 'You don't need a license from us, but you will need it when you get the permit,'" Vasquez says. "That was crazy. I spent almost a month and a week going back and forth."
Vasquez says he hopes to clear $85 to $120 per day.
"This is a good thing for people not doing nothing in the city, sitting on their porch," Vasquez says, smiling while handing some cut pineapple to a customer. "It's not too difficult to wake up at five in the morning, go back home at five at night, and make a living for your family."