For many industrious and entrepreneurial kids across the United States, the summer of 2018 has been a bit of a killjoy. Lemonade stands have been especially hard hit by community complaints, and kids have had to close up shop when the cops showed up. Not this time. Not Jaequan Faulkner.
Faulkner, 13, runs Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs. Faulkner sells hot dogs, Polish sausages, chips and drinks. His mobile pop-up “will travel around the North Side [of Minneapolis] this summer, ” The Star Tribune writes, ” including stops at the Minneapolis Police Department’s Fourth Precinct, the Minneapolis Urban League and Sanctuary Covenant Church.”
Faulkner has has a work ethic, sure, and is learning from his early experience with sales. There’s more, though, than most kids get during their summer jobs. Faulkner, like many kids recently, did run afoul of the city’s rules on who can sell what, and where.
Yet Minneapolis didn’t swoop in and shut him down. Instead they worked with him. Faulkner now has a business permit.
“I like having my own business,” he said. “I like letting people know just because I’m young doesn’t mean I can’t do” anything.
But when someone complained about health-code violations, the permit wasn’t enough.
This could have easily been the excuse the city needed to shut him down. Instead, they rallied behind Faulkner. “Health Department staff made sure he had the necessary equipment — thermometers, food containers, hand sanitizer and utensil-cleaning stations — as well as knowledge about proper food handling. Once he passed his health inspection, inspectors paid the $87 for the special event food permit, and the city-sanctioned stand opened for business,” the Tribune notes.
As word spread, others stepped up. The Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) offered him coaching on his business techniques.
Ann Fix, manages NEON’s “food business incubator.” “Every day I’ve been going home thinking, ‘This young man is the brightness of my day,’ ” she said.
“With Jaequan, it’s an even bigger passion,” Fix said. “It’s not just about the hot dogs, it’s about everything in the community.”
The local media exposure of this feel-good story is spreading. Now national outlets are picking up on the buzz. All of the attention means customers are now seeking out the hotdog stand. Faulkner, though, has kept a level head. For him, this appears to be about more than a little spending money.