Serving up “mean dawgs” with “nice buns”

When 14-year-old Daniel Giffin from Drayton had trouble finding a summer job, he decided to make one for himself.

“I was looking for employment. I went to a few places [but] a lot of them didn’t hire until [age]15,” said Daniel. “We [the Giffin family] were just sitting around one day, and all three of us saw this cart. We were wondering, ‘can we do that?’ – that’s why we’re here now, because the answer was ‘yes.’”

Hometown Hotdogs first wheeled out their cart last weekend on June 12, and had a successful soft launch. While looking at the long line of hungry customers ahead of them, the Giffin family had more than enough evidence that they indeed can ‘do that.’

“It was great, unbelievable. The show of support from Drayton was amazing,” said Daniel’s father Christian. “We didn’t expect such a turnout. We had a line that went from the front of the parking lot where we were all the way [down the street].”

For Hometown Hotdogs, ‘Hometown’ isn’t just in their name – it’s in their product as well.

“We wanted to be locally supplied. It’s important to us,” explained Christian. “The communities that we’re going to be doing business in, we want to work with the people and commit to local suppliers.”

Christian added, “[Stemmler Meats] have phenomenal product –  they helped us pick the meats that we wanted, and it worked out really well.”

It’s not just the meats that are locally sourced, the quality of the buns receive just as much care and attention.

“We chose Fresh Start Bakery in Palmerston,” said Christian. “[They] came up with an amazing pretzel bun for us – it’s a pretzel and [they] put rock salt on one side. So you get that real pretzel taste.”

While Daniel may be the driving force behind Hometown Hotdogs, his parents and their past experience in the restaurant industry are always able to add guidance.

“They do have a lot of experience, and they have a lot of great ideas. So they have been a huge help,” said Daniel.

The initiative Daniel had shown when he first decided to start his own business left a positive impression on his parents. His entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to experiment has made Edit Giffin one proud mother.

“I am really proud of my son for the fact that he thought about self-employment. Entrepreneurs, you don’t see a lot of them around,” said Edit. “It’s a great way for [him] to build some skills.”

Moving forward, Daniel is still unsure of the direction he’d like to take his professional career, but to be fair, who knew what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives at 14 years old?

“It’s a hard question,” said Daniel. “It’s definitely something that I could look more into.”

Those eager to get their own ‘Mean Dawg’ should look no further than to the Mapleton Farmers’ Market which takes place the third Wednesday of every month. Hometown Hotdogs also plans to have a more regular location somewhere in Drayton.

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