Small Business Incubator Clashes With City Over Lease

Dec 4, 2013

Food truck rally at Synergy Incubators

An incubator for food trucks and other small vendors in Dayton is getting evicted by the city following a controversial decision last week, and an online petition has gathered hundreds of signatures of protest.

Synergy Incubators has been throwing food truck rallies downtown since July, and was preparing to open a kitchen space in the Oregon district for food trucks, caterers and bakers to share.

But after quite a bit of back and forth, the city decided not to renew the lease for the building at 200 S Jefferson.

“We were surprised and shocked to hear that the city isn’t going to offer us a lease,” said Synergy owner Tonia Fish. “We were told that that was because of the general fight against food trucks.”

“Our best interest is to have a long term tenant for that property,” said Joe Parlette, the director of Recreation and Youth Services for the City of Dayton. But he said Synergy is not the one, in part because other downtown businesses were concerned about the company’s presence. He added that he doesn’t believe the company has a viable business plan.

But Parlette said the move doesn’t reflect a disinterest in food trucks on the part of the city.


“The city has worked on and passed legislation that sets up food truck areas...limited though they may be, they’re available,” Parlette said. “Nothing is preventing food trucks from making a deal with private property owners.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of people having signed on to a letter asking the city to renew the lease for Synergy, which has been in the space for several months and was in the process of making improvements to the property and setting up the kitchen. Synergy will continue to search for a space downtown, a move the city says it supports.

“The city and our economic development folks have been and will continue to help Synergy identify a property, hopefully within downtown Dayton, that makes sense for the city, and for the neighborhood, for the business districts, and for Synergy," Parlette said.