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Hot dog stands compete for business

Seniors Aldo Behrens, Connor Gizinski, Avery McGinnis, Callum Bone and junior Robin Stump that brought a much needed hot dog stand to the common high school student—cheap and delicious. In the bottom left Aldo Behrens is featured wearing a wiener su…

Seniors Aldo Behrens, Connor Gizinski, Avery McGinnis, Callum Bone and junior Robin Stump that brought a much needed hot dog stand to the common high school student—cheap and delicious. In the bottom left Aldo Behrens is featured wearing a wiener suit while Callum Bone hands Avery McGinnis a hot dog and Connor Gizinski sits in the back next to Jackson Fasser. (Skye McDonald)

First ever hot dog stand’s successful opening leads to creation of competitor business

Hannah Weaver, Copy EDITOR

In the early months of school it seems as though almost everyone is suffering from early-onset senioritis, the September blues, or a combination of the two. Even worse is the thought of eating the same old lunch every day, whether it be a moldy sack lunch or the sixtieth coffee cake muffin of the month. Though 30 minutes may not seem like much time, it’s the longest break all day, and students haven’t realized its full potential.

Seniors Aldo Behrens, Connor Gizinski, Avery McGinnis, Callum Bone and junior Robin Stump were recently feeling tired of their regular lunch schedule. They came up with the idea to spice up their regular routine with some fresh-off-the-grill hot dogs.

In the beginning, the hot dogs were just for them, but they realized that their new idea was too good not to share with the rest of school.

“We all communally decided, ‘what if we started selling hot dogs as a joke?’ ” Behrens said.

With their Camp Chef cooking stove and purchase of hickory smoked dogs from an undisclosed bulk food distributor, Beaver Wieners was born. However, they don’t have a food permit or food handler’s license, and emphasize that they are not officially a business and are not affiliated with the school.

“We make sure not to have any signs up, because then it could actually be seen as a real restaurant,” Stump said. “We [also] asked Mr. Wynkoop if we could do it and he said off school property, yes.”

Once they were certain they wouldn’t come into any legal trouble, the next step was to advertise their grand opening, and they created an Instagram account to do so. This account quickly amassed a large following, some excited at the prospect of freshly cooked hot dogs and others just curious to see what Beaver Wieners was all about.

On the Friday of their grand opening, the response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic.

“It went swimmingly,” Behrens said. “It was a lot bigger of a thing than we imagined, we did it as a joke to maybe sell hot dogs to 10 people, and then we sold about 70 hot dogs.”

After a successful grand opening and much feedback, they brainstormed ideas for future sales. Cream cheese as a condiment, buns pressed in a waffle iron with syrup on top and hot dog eating contests were just a few of the many ideas they conjured up.

These big plans were suddenly put on hold when another hot dog seller came to town. Junior Emiel Madonna and senior Jackson Ward decided to start their very own hot dog stand for a marketing project, about a week after Beaver Wieners was conceptualized.

Taped to every corner of the walls were posters proclaiming, “Ballard Classic Hot Dog.” This, of course, did not go over well with the Wiener Boys, who saw it as a threat to their business. Beaver Wieners took to Instagram, saying that if one of their followers took three posters down, that person could get a free hot dog at their next sale.

Ward, however, had no intentions of causing such controversy.

“I personally had no clue that there was another hot dog thing going on, I didn’t know it would become this big thing,” Ward said. We did not mean to offend anyone, we were just trying to do a marketing project.”

His business partner Madonna, on the other hand, is okay with a little bit of controversy and competition. He believes the hot dog market is open to anyone, and that Beaver Wieners shouldn’t have a monopoly on it. This has created a mock rivalry between the two stands.

“Oh, I want conflict,” Madonna said. “This is a competing business.”

Behrens of Beaver Wieners agreed, especially since the new hot dog sellers’ business model was so similar to that of Beaver Wieners.

“I was appalled that someone would knowingly steal the Beaver Wieners idea,” Behrens said. “I see it as a declaration of war, and I can’t say I’m going to hold myself back from continuing with this war.”

The two hot dog stands aren’t exactly the same, however. They sell their dogs at different price points, and they use different methods to cook them. The new stand sells their hot dogs for two dollars, and claims they are doubly good. Beaver Wieners, on the other hand, sells them a dollar apiece.

This, they say, better aligns with their core values. “We could just as easily sell the same if not better quality dogs, but we prefer to cater to the poor man, and so that’s why we sell our hot dogs at half the price,” Behrens said.

The two stands also have very different vibes. Ward and Madonna’s marketing project is very streamlined and factory-like. At their sales, they had a massive hot dog machine that sat there rolling out hot dogs, thirty or so at a time. They have the business down to a science, and their quick service drew a crowd comparable to Beaver Wieners’.

Beaver Wieners seems more focused on connecting with their customers, and creating a fun atmosphere. At their homecoming week sale, they had music playing from the red pickup truck they sold out of, and they stood atop the truck as people gathered eagerly to get some dogs.

“We like to be a part of the community, and this is the best way we could do it,” McGinnis said. “People who have never met each other [were] talking over hot dogs, you know? It’s something everyone can relate to.”

Their main goal is to provide students with an enjoyable experience and a distraction from the mundanities of school. Or, as Gizinski said, “dogs for the people.”

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Hot dog stands compete for business