He arrived to set up shop on his first day and 10 minutes later, a zoning official arrived to shut him down. The problem: The cart, which is in the parking lot of a sporting goods store, is on the edge of official downtown commercial district of Holland, Michigan. The city bans food carts in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants a couple of blocks away.
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He saved $1,200, mostly money made by mowing lawns and shoveling snow. He checked with the city to make sure he didn't need any licenses or permits, even going to city hall in person with his mom. And then he bought a cart. (Yep, that's hot dogs from Nathan's, for those who are keeping score at home.)
As it happens, I've been to Holland. It's a lovely town, but not exactly a booming metropolis. And frankly (ha!), after an evening of Blue Motorcycles Butch's Dry Dock, a hot dog would really have hit the spot. The city says it is willing to work with Nathan, but keeping food carts out of the small, walkable downtown area is pretty much the same thing as banning food carts altogether. Nathan and his family obviously know that: The hot dog cart is now for sale.
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