City of Naples has a plan to stop aggressive solicitors

Reporter: Jennifer Morejon Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

Most people want to be able to walk down the street in peace. But that becomes difficult when you’re bombarded by employees trying to get you to come inside.

But the City of Naples has a plan to stop these solicitors from ruining your outings. How do those nicknamed the “5th Avenue Visitors” feel about this?

Fifth Avenue South in Naples is where both locals and tourists converge. And no matter where they come from, people do not like being approached when they window shop.

People position themselves outside of different businesses and use free samples to get others to come inside. This is called “hawking,” but the City of Naples plans to put an end to it.

Sharon Sendelwick is visiting Naples from Indiana. “We been coming here for about 15 years, so in past years I have seen it, yes,” said Sendelwick.

She’s all in favor of stopping solicitation like what was described above. She’d prefer to shop in peace.

“That would be a great idea because personally, especially if you are busy shopping and on a mission. And someone takes your time and wants to give you something and doesn’t want to take ‘no’ for an answer, so you take it so you can move on. So I’d rather not have that,” Sendelwick said.

This new proposal by the city council bans any off-premises solicitation. This means that business employees can’t walk up to anyone and convince passing customers to come inside by offering them samples of goods, food or drinks.

Marilyn Cozad is also visiting Naples. “I would be in favor of that because I find it very aggressive. We were walking to dinner last night, and we change— crossed the street because we must have had three or four of them just as we were walking 5th Avenue,” said Cozad.

Those in support of the measure say it must ensure the safety of all visits, even if that means giving up some dollars and cents. They can’t afford to have anyone scurrying away or fall or step in front of a car.

The proposed city ordinance has already passed its first hurdle. The council plans to debate the issue later in March. If the ordinance passes, any business that practices “hawking” will face a fine.

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