Jaequan Faulkner has city officials to thank for helping him score new school clothes.
The 13-year-old Minneapolis student opened up a hot dog stand in the front of his home earlier this summer to help him raise money for new clothing items, soon gaining popularity after police officers with Bike Cops for Kids gave him a plug on Facebook, KARE-11 reported.
Faulkner ran the stand before in 2016, and was determined to give it another go. “It puts pride in me to see that I’m doing something good for the community,” the teenager told KARE-11.
But this time, Faulkner was nearly shut down when a complaint was sent to the health department because he was selling food without a permit, KCPQ-13 reported.
Rather than close the business, Minneapolis environmental health director Dan Huff decided to help Faulkner achieve his goal.
“When I realized what it was, I said, ‘No, we’re not going to just go and shut him down’ like we would an unlicensed vendor,” Huff told KCPQ-13. “We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”
Huff and staff at the Minneapolis Health Department chipped in to help get Faulkner the $87 he’d need to pay for the 10-day permit, KCPQ-13 reported. And, in an extra sweet effort, they also got him a tent for overhead protection, a couple of meat thermometers, hand sanitizer and a hand-washing station and other things he’d need to safely prepare food for the public.
“We worked with him to make sure he was following all of the health codes,” Huff told KCPQ-13.
Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), a nonprofit set to empower “underserved entrepreneurs” in the community, also stepped in to educate Faulkner on what he’d need.
“We’ve been working with Jaequan on the business side of things, like basic business, finance, marketing, pricing… he’s really been excited about all of it,” Ann Fix, program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubator through NEON and Appetite for Change, told KARE-11.
The Minneapolis Promise Zone also helped, KARE-11 reported.
On Monday, Faulkner’s stand — aptly named Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs — opened for business for the first time with a permit, the Star Tribune reported. Offering hot dogs, Polish sausages, chips, drinks and condiments, the stand will be open Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and will serve about 20 customers a day.
“It’s not about the money,” he told the paper. “It’s just something I enjoy doing. I like having my own business. I like letting people know just because I’m young doesn’t mean I can’t do [anything].”
When his 10-day permit expires, Faulkner will be moving locations, KCPQ-13 reported. First, he’ll head to the police precinct, which sponsored his next permit. From there, members of the Urban League and a community church will donate cash for more permits, which should keep Faulkner’s little business open until he goes back to school.
“It’s the cooking and the people,” he told KCPQ-13 of why he does it. “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.”