13-Year-Old Aspiring Hot Dog Vendor Shut Down By City, Sells Cart At A Profit

A Michigan teen’s hot dog cart is a more complex operation than your garden-variety lemonade stand. Wanting to earn some money to help out his disabled parents, the 13-year-old saved up to purchase a hot dog cart, then set up business in downtown Holland. The city promptly shut him down. Thanks to zoning laws designed to protect downtown eateries, food carts can’t set up in the city unless they’re part of an existing restaurant operation. The young entrepreneur is too young for a street vendor’s license, which could have kept the business running. So what did he do next? After attracting national media attention, he sold the cart to a local business, but retains the right to borrow it back for special events that might require hot dogs.

The parents paid for half of the cart, and the teen saved up the rest from gifts and doing chores for neighbors. His family checked with City Hall first before opening up the business, obtained a permit from the county, and assumed that everything was legal. They didn’t know that zoning rules meant that a food business couldn’t open in the planned location. The family continues to lobby the city for a change in the rules.

Selling a failed venture at a profit after a shower of free media attention? We predict a bright future in business for this kid.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Hut [Official Site]
13-year-old Holland hot dog vendor shut down by city hall gets generous offer, outpouring of support [MLive] (via Fark)
13-year-old entrepreneur told no hot dog sales [Holland Sentinel]