Hot Dog Vendor Coming To Douglas
There is some resistance and some support for the latest business coming to downtown Douglas: Odie Dogs, a street food vendor.
One opposing business member referred to the hot dog cart business as “tacky” and others voiced concern about setting a precedent and being unfair to already established businesses during Monday night’s Douglas City Council meeting.
However, the five present council members unanimously approved Eric Chaitin’s business proposal, claiming it will enhance food service options, particularly lunch, for visitors and locals alike and generate more economic stimulus.
In exchange for $1,000 ($500 per parking space), the council granted Chaitin a one-year permit to park his mobile food cart in two parking lots in front of Beery Field.
With the mission statement being “to serve high quality street food produced in Michigan at a reasonable price (e.g., $2 hot dogs, $3 burgers, etc.),” the back of the Odie Dogs will face Center Street while the front will face the park, serving costumers between the sidewalk and the open space left in front of the cart.
“The intent here is to create an opportunity to incubate a business and encourage a brick-and-mortar business within the next three years,” Douglas Community and Economic Development Director Ryan Kilpatrick told council.
He said that downtown building occupancy was tight, and that investing in the renting of one was unjustifiable for Odie Dogs at this time.
“This whole thing about a street vendor I find really tacky,” said local business owner Eugene Schoeneich, adding that he was concerned about creating a “carnival-type atmosphere.”
Back Alley Pizza owner David Barkwell also told council members that the business was incompatible with downtown and that they needed to think it through better.
“It’s not a personal issue that I have with the cart vendor,” said Barkwell. “My issue is that this is a precedent we are setting.”
In contrast, local resident Keith Charak echoed the sentiment of some council members when he said, “There is no place to have lunch in Douglas.”
He added, “Eric (Chaitin) was voted the best chef in 2010.”
“I love this town. I want to be part of this town,” said Chaitin. “In the absence of facts, there is a lot of assumptions…this is not a circus.”