My name is Devon Crocker. I'm the owner of Devon's Weenie Wagon, a hotdog cart that will be starting up in Winterport, ME this Spring. I just wanted to take the time to thank you for writing such an informative and inspirational book. I have read it a total of 3 times, front to back, since I bought it from you last year. I even keep it in my car for quick reference or for a fun read while on my breaks at work. I've learned a lot from your book and from your facebook page and website over the past year and a half and I am so thankful to have you as a guide with me through this difficult journey.
Here's my story:
I'm 24 years old. I've worked for restaurants since I was 18 and I've managed a few along the way. I got sick of big business a couple years ago, though, and decided that I'd much rather spend the rest of my life working for myself. Since food has always been a part of my life, I figured I'd start something up in that field. I was given an old camper from my grandparents after my grandmother got sick and they had to part with all of their belongings to pay the medical bills. I kept the camper for a summer but decided to sell it because I, too, ended up needing money to pay bills. Before I sold the camper I had an idea to turn it into a food stand. It was very old, however, so that idea was squashed after sleeping on it for a few nights. But then I decided that I'd like to pursue the idea some more and did a quick search on Google for food carts. After months of research and a few dollars spent on memberships to a couple web pages, I chose to sell hot dogs. I spent last Winter deep in seasonal depression. I'd hibernate for days in my bedroom in front of my computer screen researching hot dog carts and listening to audio books and watching videos of dog slingers and entrepreneurs. I dreamed of one day owning a stainless steel hot dog cart, setting it up in my small town, and feeding the community that I've grown to love so dearly. In February of last year, my dream started to come true. I jumped through some hoops and started leasing my very first stainless steel hot dog cart. I aimed to set up and start my business last Spring but money was tight and I wasn't as bright as I had hoped to be. I still had so much to learn about the business and I wasn't close to being prepared. So I got a job as a butcher at the local grocery store to maintain the lease payment and keep up with my bills, all while studying the hot dog slinging business and practicing as much as possible in my free time. Over the past year I've learned so much about cutting meat but, most of all, what kind of hot dogs the people in my area like to buy. I'd like to think that I made a wise decision getting a full time job in the meatcutting business because my overall goal has remained the same. I want to be a hot dog vendor. And the best way, I think, to know what kind of product will sell at my location is to find out what people are already buying.
That brings me here. I've got 3 and a half months until I plan to start. I'm sure I still have so much to learn about the business but I'd like to think I'm on the right track. I have my location on route 1a in Winterport, 100 feet from my house, with a huge stretch of roadway vision on both sides of the road and it's in a 25 mph speed limit zone. I have my cart with pans and utencils, 4 sinks, grill, onboard water heater, fresh tank and gray tank, 2 propane tanks with rack to hold both. I have all the coolers I'll need, and my menu is finalized. I am Serv-Safe certified and I'm aiming to renew my CPR certification in the next month or so. I'm pending insurance on my business until I'm ready to start. My town does not have an ordinance and I am not required to have a permit. I just need to send in for my license with the state and I'll be ready to go. I've been advertising to the locals for over a year as well. People are excited and I'm ready.
With all of this I have you to thank. Your website and your book have helped me immensely and I'm very grateful. Thank you for all it is that you do, Ben. You have given me some hope in my life and I now have a goal to work towards. I now have something to grow and to be proud of. Thank you so much.
Owner/President of Devon's Weenie Wagon