The city permit made Jaequan Faulkner’s North Side hot dog stand official. Now it looks the part, too.
Officers with the Minneapolis Police Department dropped off a brand-new, bright red and shiny hot dog stand at Faulkner’s house Thursday. The gift came just a week after city health officials helped Faulkner, 13, qualify for a permit instead of shutting him down when someone complained.
“I’m like, ‘Wait, that quick?’ ” Faulkner said, his expression veering from smiling to disbelief. “What?”
The police also bought him juice and soda as well as ketchup, mustard and other supplies, sharing the delivery in a video on the department’s Twitter account. The officers bought everything with their own money, police spokesman John Elder said.
“It’s just wonderful seeing this young man thriving the way he is, starting his own business,” officer Mike Kirchen said in the video. Kirchen founded the police station’s Bike Cops for Kids, a community-building program.
“I’m feeling excited knowing that I have people on my side that like what I’m doing and are going to support it,” Faulkner said.
He has sold hot dogs off and on in past years, but he decided to focus on the business this summer. When city inspectors helped Faulkner get a permit, they also hooked him up with the Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON). Eventually, he said, he would like to expand to a food truck.
“I like having my own business,” Faulkner said last week. “I like letting people know just because I’m young doesn’t mean I can’t do [anything].”
Faulkner is saving some of the money for new clothes, but he also wants to donate 25 cents of each hot dog sold next summer to raise awareness about youth depression, although he hasn’t said specifically to which group. That spoke to his maturity and empathy, said Ann Fix, program manager of NEON’s food business incubator.
In the video posted by Minneapolis police on Friday, officers posed by the professional-grade cart with Faulkner, who wore a crisp white apron emblazoned with “Mr. Faulkner’s Old Fashioned Hot Dogs.” The red cart comes complete with an umbrella, hot dog rollers and counter space on either side.
Previously, Faulkner had sold hot dogs from a cloth-covered tabletop holding a pink cash register, condiments, chips and drinks.
The gift coincides with Faulkner’s move from the front of his house on Penn Avenue N., where he launched the business, to a spot at the police department’s Fourth Precinct station. He’ll be selling hot dogs outside the police station from July 30 to Aug. 4. Later this summer, he plans to set up shop at the Minneapolis Urban League and Sanctuary Covenant Church on the North Side.
Chipping in to boost Faulkner’s business was an easy decision for officers, Elder said. Officers get into policing because they care, he said, and this was one way for them to make a difference.
Donating the cart and supplies was also an opportunity to participate in a story that’s brought many in the community together. Since last week, thousands have seen Faulkner’s story as it spread from local to national news outlets. Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey and other officials tweeted about the story.
“Short, tall, old, young, white, black, everyone has come out to support Jaequan and his business, and it’s a beautiful thing,” said Jon Edwards, an officer with the police department’s Community Engagement Team. “It’s wonderful. This is what community should feel like.”