Brian Reed of Mojo TaGO contacted me in February 2012. He was concerned about the inability of food trucks to do business in parts of Columbus and impending new regulations that could hurt the fledgling industry. We had a long conversation about some of the successes in Southern California and I recommended that the food trucks of Columbus start an Association.
The first call lead to a follow conference with six or seven food truck operators. I agreed to give them our bylaws and advice and consultation. The Central Ohio Food Truck Association (COFTA) was born shortly thereafter with Brian Reed taking the CEO position. The first year was an organizational year. But, as soon as COFTA got their bearings they set their sights on getting the city to adopt reasonable regulations that benefit the citizens, the food trucks and the overall culture of Columbus Ohio. It took a little over two years from the first call to seeing the city change their regulations for the better.
COFTA has been an inspiration. They organized quickly and made sure that their membership was well informed and well prepared. Through countless hours of research, negotiation and advocacy, they were able to make real change that had a dramatic impact on the state of mobile vending in their community.
As with many Associations, they worked well with an elected official that championed their cause. Councilwoman Michelle M. Mills helped to facilitate and coordinate efforts to make the necessary regulatory changes. On April 7, 2014 I was fortunate enough to be in Columbus to see the Columbus City Council Approve the ordinance change. COFTA and the Columbus food trucks should be proud.
For more info on the regulatory changes: The Dispatch