Not today, Satan. Or in this case, not today #PermitPatty. An old sourpuss who was trying to kill a Minneapolis’ teen entrepreneurial spirit did not prosper after the city rallied together to get him the proper permit to continue is business.
Jaequan Faulkner had been cooking hot dogs outside his home, selling them to raise money for new clothes for the school year. He’s been running his little business since 2016, however this summer, his business blew up, getting him more attention.
However, not all attention is good attention, and according to Q13Fox, someone noticed that the stand wasn’t city-sanctioned, filed a complaint, and Jaequan was basically forced to shut down his business.
Normally it may have ended there, but the city stepped up and showed out, rallying behind Jaequan to bring his stand up to code (all businesses that serve food must pass city health inspectors to get a permit, KARE 11 notes) and get him the necessary documentation.
“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,” Minneapolis Environmental Health Director Dan Huff told Q13Fox. “We can help him get the permit. Let’s make this a positive thing and help him become a business owner.”
In fact, according to KARE-11, Health Department staff even put up the cash to help Jaequan pay for his $87 permit.
By last Monday, Jaequan had his permit in hand and officially reopened Mr. Faulkner’s Old-Fashioned Dogs.
“The health inspectors all pitched in and helped him get his permit,” Huff said. “We worked with him to make sure he was following all of the health codes.”
A health inspector helped train Jaequan, showing him how to take the temperature of the hot dogs so that they are above the required 140 degrees, and even got him a thermometer and a hand-washing station.
The department of health contacted Nothern Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), a nonprofit which seeks to help and empower “underserved entrepreneurs.” In turn, NEON taught Jaequan how to start a business, whether through getting a temporary food permit or a license later on, and also started a Facebook page for the teen’s business.
Between the city and NEON, Jaequan now had a 100 percent legit and certified business running.
“We tried to gauge if it was this kid really wanted to have a business or if he was just trying to earn some money,” Ann Fix, program manager for the Northside Food Business Incubator at NEON told Q13Fox. “Because he was so passionate about having a go at this and owning a business, the city offered to help.”
So passionate in fact, that Fix is continuing to work with Jaequan to help him create plans for the future and build on his business skills. There are already talking and planning out business plans for next summer.
“What we’ve been doing with Jaequan behind the scenes is talking to him about getting a cart,” she said. “The thought is to get a permanent location with primo traffic so he could sell hot dogs.”
“This young man is so full of gratitude,” Fix added. “He is absolutely terrific to work with.”
For Jaequan, his purpose is simple. The money for school clothes is great, but serving his community is even better.
“It puts pride in me to see that I’m doing something good for the community,” he told KARE 11.
“It’s the cooking and the people,” he told Q13Fox. “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.”
Jaequan’s new food permit last for 10 days, after which he’ll be moving his stand to several new locations.
The charismatic entrepreneur has already gotten sponsored by the police precinct, who will help with his next permit so that he can sell his old-fashioned dogs in front of the station. The Urban League and a local church will also help sponsor some temporary permits, which should get him through the summer.
“Surprisingly, I’m like, dang the city’s not the bad guys in this situation. They’re actually the ones who are helping me,” Jaequan told Kare 11. “It makes me feel...really proud that people know what I’m doing.”