Instead of shutting down a teenager’s hot dog stand for not having a permit, the city helped him turn his stand into a business.
13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner started his hot dog stand in 2016 as a means of doing something creative to fend off his depression. Additionally, he wanted to use the money to buy himself some new clothes.
So with his tabletop business set up in front of his home in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the youngster started selling hot dogs, chips, and sodas to the locals – and everybody loved it.
As his stand garnered more and more attention, however, someone complained to the city’s health department for Jaequan’s lack of permit.
But instead of shutting down the entrepreneurial venture, a dozen different city departments came together to help the teen get a permit and start a business.
“When I realized what [the complaint] was, I said, ‘No, we’re not going to just go and shut him down’ like we would an unlicensed vendor,” Minneapolis Environmental Health Director Dan Huff told WTVR. “We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”
Several Minneapolis health inspectors volunteered to train the youngster on food safety. They gave him a thermometer that he could use to make sure the food was above 140 degrees; they got him a hand-washing station and a tent; and they even paid for Jaequan’s permit fee.
Not only that, a local nonprofit has been teaching Jaequan entrepreneurial skills and helping him to establish his new business: Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs.
The team is now raising money through a GoFundMe campaign so they can get Jaequan a mobile hot dog stand. The teen says that he will be donating a portion of the proceeds to mental health charities, and any additional funds will be put into his college fund.
But while the 13-year-old says that he has enjoyed making money and learning about business, he mostly enjoys using his hot dog stand to make people happy.
“It’s the cooking and the people,” he said. “I see someone go by with a frown on their face. I’m there with a smile, then I see a smile on their face. I just made a smile on somebody’s face by selling them a hot dog.”
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