The Memorial Day Weekend is traditionally celebrated with pool parties, barbeque and good-times. However, on Fourth Avenue, a few merchants rang in the holiday with passive-aggressive power moves and parallel parking wars.
Since it's grand opening on April 20, local food-truck Geronimo's Revenge has parked regularly outside of Fourth Avenue main-stay bar, Che's Lounge. Che's, as any good denizen of Fourth Avenue knows, is located at the junction of Fourth Avenue and Seventh Street.
While the truck's customers appreciate that dependability, its welcome hasn't been unanimous.
US Fries, a local poutine-n-burgers establishment, sits about two hundred feet south of Che's. Depending on what parking spot is open for the truck to park in, Geronimo's can end up even closer in proximity.
On Friday, May 27, those parking spots became the scene of a dispute between US Fries and Geronimo's. That night, a limo belonging to US Fries that is usually used for promotional appearances was parked on Fourth between Che's and US Fries.
Jeronimo Madril, owner of Geronimo's, confirmed that in addition to the limo, a large white van was parked in the public parking spot along Seventh Street. That particular spot, which Madril said he usually parks the food-truck in, made it impossible for his business to operate.
Madril didn't want to comment on the specifics of the incident, but confirmed that both the limo and the van remained parked in place until sometime Sunday.
After the initial Friday incident, US Fries social media accounts received a torrent of bad reviews and admonishment.
"Soggy mess that was saltier than their attitude," said one Google reviewer. "This place smells, they have had multiple health code issues, and they use two parking spots for their freaking limo," said another. A search for health code violations by the establishment turns up nothing.
The Tucson Weekly reached out to Tom Jones, the owner of US Fries, but he had no official comment.
However, the backlash prompted US Fries to respond on Google Reviews. That response claimed that, due to Geronimo's being open "SEVEN DAYS A WEEK" and in such close proximity to US Fries, the company made the decision to park the limo in the parking spot in question.
"Up to three other food vendors are on our block as well," the statement said. "Though we are for fair competition and wish these vendors well, the situation has created an unfair playing field."
The statement also claimed US Fries received much more than social media backlash. "US Fries vehicles were vandalized as well," it said.
While no one currently employed with US Fries would go on record, a former employee who left just before the incident, David Goss, was willing to speak. He said that, in his year with the company, US Fries experienced more than its fair-share of vandalism.
"On two occasions our power was shut off," he said. "The breakers in the back aren't something you can just pull, you have to go out of your way to reach them."
One particular instance of bathroom graffiti caught Goss' eye. "It said 'go back to Canada,' which is where Tom is from."
Goss also felt US Fries was unfairly singled out by some merchants. "A lot of people thought we were a chain," he said. "We weren't, we're just a local business, too."
For his part, Madril denies being open seven days a week. He said he is just trying to look past the incident. "We're not interested in talking bad about anybody or any business," he said. "I'm just trying to be here to provide the community good food and service."