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Food Vendors Struggle On Phoenix Valley Streets

Every day Phoenix Valley Streets vendors like Marta Rojas push and pedal small carts on the streets selling a variety of snacks from corn in a cup to mangos on a stick.

“I like being here, working, meeting people, knowing the community. It’s nice,” said Rojas.


The kids love her, not only for her treats but because she has seen most of them grow up. One of her loyal customers, Ruben Martinez, 12, looks forward to hearing the bell that signals Rojas is in his apartment complex parking lot.

“It’s pretty good because she takes her time and makes sure that it’s all nice and good.”

Rojas has been a street vendor for 13 years and is originally from Puebla, Mexico. She’s one of the few women in a largely immigrant workforce of street vendors. And she’s encountered difficult and dangerous situations.

“People who rob. People who yell at you in the streets, people on drugs. Some lose consciousness. We put ourselves out there to all those dangers,” said Rojas.

Food Vendors Struggle On Phoenix Valley Streets

Martha Rojas, Phoenix Valley street vendor, prepares a shaved ice treat for a customer. (Photo by Yesenia Beltran/ Cronkite News)

The mother of three also has faced problems with the city because she does not have a vendor’s license. “The only license I have, is from God,” said Rojas.

The City of Phoenix requires all vendors, no matter how small, to get a license.

Phoenix has issued 120 new permits so far this year.

An untold number of additional vendors are working without a license.

“Applicants must have at least two forms of identification showing lawful presence,” said Denise Archibald, license services supervisor in the Phoenix City Clerk’s office.

Archibald would not elaborate but referred to the list of forms of identification which includes a passport and other proof of citizenship.

Rojas does not qualify for a vendor’s license because the city requires proof of immigration status.

She’s not alone.

“There are plenty vendors in the area selling without a permit,” said Rojas.

Vendors operating without a permit run the risk of getting a fine or even jail time.

“The fine is determined by the court,” said Archibald.

“The range of possible penalties are either outlined in each code section or they default to the city’s general penalty….,” said Archibald.

“The vendor may be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor punishable by a fine not exceeding $2500 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or probation not to exceed three years,” as per the city code.

But it’s a risk Rojas and others are willing to take to make a living and support their families.

Rojas dreams of becoming a citizen.

Two of her children, ages 6 and 11, are U.S. citizens.

“One comes to this country to advance and move forward. (That’s) every person’s dream, every parent’s dream because I have kids.”

The City of Buckeye has guidelines to help people who need a vendor’s license.



It is the goal of the City of Buckeye to conduct fair and competitive contracting and purchasing processes. The City has developed a Vendor Guide to acquaint interested parties with the City’s purchasing policies and procedures.

The Vendor Guide contains information on how the City conducts business according to City Code and State Law as well as processing steps for completing the bidder’s application and for registering vendors who have been successful with competitive bids.

If you need assistance please contact Tyra Bell at (623) 349-6171, [email protected] , or fax to (623) 349-6221.


Required to Provide Goods and Services to the City of Buckeye

Welcome to the City of Buckeye’s new Vendor Self Service (VSS). VSS gives you web-based access to your personal information and records. Purchase orders, invoices, bids, contracts, 1099s and accounts payable check information are all available online. You also have the ability to update your profile, including address, contact information, W-9, Insurance Certificates, and commodities information. In order to receive payments you must be registered and accepted in VSS.

The City of Buckeye has two categories of vendors and each has a separate application process.

  • Business Vendors are businesses that wish to contract with the City to provide products or services. Please refer to the Vendor Self Service User Guide on this page.
  • Events Vendors are businesses that would like to sell or promote their goods or services at special events provided by the City. The Community Services Department oversees the application process for these vendors.  Please refer to the Buckeye Events Vendor Application Form.


If you are an existing vendor, you can register and gain access to the information stated above. You must have your Vendor Number in order to register and access your profile. The Vendor Number may be obtained from the letter that was sent to you from the Construction and Contracting Division or by e-mailing [email protected] or calling Tyra Bell at 623-349-6171. We must receive your signed W-9 prior to reviewing and validating your registration. We prefer documents (W-9, Certificates, etc.) to be attached using VSS, but you may also submit them by e-mail, fax, or mail.


If you are a prospective business vendor, you must complete the registration process through VSS. We must receive your W-9 prior to reviewing and validating your registration. We prefer documents (W-9, Certificates, etc.) to be attached using VSS, but you may also submit them by e-mail, fax, or mail. Upon review and validation of the information you have provided, the City’s Construction and Contracting Division will set your record status to Active in VSS.

Click on the Vendor Self Service Registration link on the right to enter the VSS Portal. A Vendor Registration Guide is available to help you step by step through the registration process. If you need assistance e-mail [email protected] or call 623-349-6171.

Source: City of Buckeye Vendor License Information

Source: Food vendors struggle on Phoenix streets | Cronkite News