Jaequan Faulkner is a 13-year-old with ambition … and some darn good hot dogs and polish sausages.
Since 2016 Faulkner has set-up shop outside his house at 1510 Penn Ave. N in Minneapolis selling hot dogs, polish sausages, water, soft drinks and chips. The enterprising young man said he set up shop to make money mostly to buy clothes. But while the sun has been out much of this summer, someone tried to rain on Faulkner’s stand.
A person not publicly named placed a call to the Minneapolis Health Department stating, in effect, the young entrepreneur should be shut down because he was not properly licensed. And true, Faulkner – like most kids with a lemonade (or in this case, hot dog) stands – was not, and thus was in violation.
Faulkner’s stand had to be shut down immediately. But staff inside the city’s health department didn’t go about business as usual, and instead they stepped in to assist the young entrepreneur. Instead of shutting him down, they cleared the way for Faulkner to get properly licensed.
Minnesota Health Department (MHD) staff reached out to the people at the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON), a business incubator and resource center in North Minneapolis, to connect the organization with Faulkner so he could go through the training of proper food handling to receive his license. MHD staff also chipped-in – along with the Minneapolis Urban League and others – to help pay for the necessary license. The city also donated equipment for a proper hand washing station.
Now properly trained and licensed, Faulkner’s stand re-opened July 16 under the banner Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs. The news was such a big deal that CNN shined a national spotlight on the opening. The soon-to-be 8th grader at Sojourner Truth Academy said the experience and support has been overwhelming and he is thrilled to be a licensed business.
“The permit let’s everybody know that I’m official and I’m really about business,” said Faulkner.
He said his stand is more than a business, it’s an opportunity to tell a positive story about North Minneapolis.
“(The hot dog stand) was never about money. It’s about doing something positive. Just being over here (North Minneapolis) doesn’t mean I’m ghetto. Just because I’m Black doesn’t mean I’m not a decent person,” said the young entrepreneur.
Faulkner said he sees upwards of 300 customers a day at the stand that is open Monday – Friday from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. – hours Faulkner is not all that thrilled about.
“I wanted to be open until 7 (p.m.) but they say I can’t because of something called child labor, but I don’t understand that … it’s my business,” said Faulkner laughing.