Minnesota officials help 13-year-old boy keep his hot dog business after complaint

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A 13-year-old entrepreneur who was reported for operating a hot dog stand without a license is still in business thanks to Minnesota officials who could've shut him down.

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The Minnesota Department of Health received a complaint this summer about the hot dog stand that Jaequan Faulkner had set up outside his Minneapolis home. He called the operation Mr. Faulkner's Old-Fashioned Hot Dogs.

But instead of closing down the operation, the agency decided to help — health inspectors even pitched in to pay for the $87 permit, Minnesota Public Radio reported.

Daniel Huff, the department's environmental health director, said the agency was excited to help a young man with such drive. Huff also contacted the Northside Economic Opportunity Network, which gave Jaequan some pointers on running a business and keeping his stand clean.

Jaequan said he's overwhelmed by the support.

"I was actually kinda surprised, 'cause usually I would have one person at a time help me, but then with so many people coming at once, I'm like, wow. I realized how much people enjoy it," he said.

Jaequan began operating — with a license — on Monday. He started the hot dog stand with help from his uncle, who said Jaequan handles about 90 percent of the business.

The teen now works four-hour days, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and spends his free time "thinking about what's next." Maybe a food card, so he can take his operation on the road.

Jaequan said he's also thinking about donating some of earnings to charities that help people with depression.

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Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News, http://www.mprnews.org

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