There’s nothing we love more than the story of a self-made man. Which is why we’re delighted by the latest news about one young boy — 13-year-old Jaequan Faulkner — who, hoping to make enough money for new school clothes, opened up a hot dog stand earlier this summer.
The only problem? His business wasn’t officially permitted to sell food, and someone submitted a complaint to city health inspectors.
It seemed — at least initially — that the lack of a permit would be a major setback. Instead, the complaint led to the legitimization of Faulkner’s business. The staff from both the Minneapolis Health Department and the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) worked together to help bring Faulkner’s hot dog stand up to code. And once that was taken care of, the Health Department even helped the savvy business-kid pay for his $87 permit!
“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,” said Ann Fix, program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubator through NEON and Appetite for Change.
After a few changes were made, including the addition of a tent for overhead protection and a hand washing station, Faulkner officially reopened his stand — called Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs — and is now operating with a permit.
And once he was open for business, his community was eager to support him.
Bike Cops for Kids, for example, made a post to their Facebook page encouraging others to swing by the stand. “He received a very generous tip today from a couple MPD bike cops and this is definitely worth the stop,” they wrote.
“Surprisingly, I’m like, dang the city’s not the bad guys in this situation. They’re actually the ones who are helping me,” Faulkner said. “It makes me feel kind of — not kind of — really proud that people know what I’m doing.”
We support you, Faulkner!