Clint Tarver, the “hot dog guy” in Michigan’s state capital whose catering equipment was destroyed by “Right to Work” protesters last week, is not letting recent events get him down. In fact, he plans to use the support the community rallied for him to help build up another.
After a crowd-funding website helped raise more than $33,000 to replace Tarver’s battered equipment and get his locally famed Clint’s Hot Dog Cart and Casual Catering up and running again after “union thugs” damaged equipment for it, Tarver and his wife have expressed profound gratitude for the support they received. And while Tarver is going to use some of the money to replace lost equipment, the rest he’s going to use to “pay it forward,” his wife Linda Lee Tarver said in an interview with TheBlaze.
Linda Lee, who said she maintains the business’ website and does some of the communications work for her husband, said he hopes to start a hot dog cart franchise, which was a dream of his before so much money was donated to him.
Linda Lee explained that her husband plans to help walk a person who wants to start a small hot dog stand business through all the paperwork, classes, certifications and other necessities.
“It’s expensive and that’s before you even buy a hot dog,” Linda Lee said, noting that it costs thousands for the fees, taxes and equipment just to get started. “There’s a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork.”
For example, as Linda Lee explained it, it costs street vendors $200 per month “to lease a slab of sidewalk.” Clint Tarver uses two corners, so he pays $400 per month for being on the sidewalk.
Clint didn’t have anyone to show him the ropes when it came to owning a hot dog cart in Lansing, Mich., so that’s what he hopes to help someone else with.
But Linda Lee said it’s not all hardship. In fact, she said she thinks if he didn’t make a dime doing what he does, he’d still be out on the streets feeding people and talking to them.
“The reward for him is definitely fulfilling what God has put in his heart to do,” Linda Lee said. “It’s a great reward for him to feed strangers and to give a kind word.
“Clint reaches out to people and they can’t help but pay attention to him. He really cares about the people and their lives.
“[His business] speaks loudly about what we’re here for as Christians and that is to show kindness and love,” Linda Lee said.
Now, Clint is on to finding the right person who wants to take on a hot dog cart franchise. They’ve had some in their church community and some friends express interest, but Linda Lee said that it’s not for everyone.
“Finding the right people to be blessed with this opportunity will not be difficult, but some people might find they don’t want to do it,” she said. “It’s more than just a notion. It’s not easy. It’s an investment of time, energy, finances with the hope that there’s a return on that investment.”
In the mean time though, Linda Lee said she and her husband are “amazed, grateful and in awe” of the outreach to them and look forward to helping someone who is committed to starting a small business of their own.
Watch this YouTube video featuring Clint Tarver and his hot dog stand to learn more about his business and how it has impacted the community:
If you liked this story, check out this original on TheBlaze featuring another mobile food vendor trying to “save the world one cookie at a time” but Washington, D.C., regulations could hamper area food trucks.