Jess: I was an entrepreneur since I was 16. Babysitting, then later selling Avon and Mary Kay. A friend who worked with my fiance was one of the first owners of the Hotdogery food truck. Two years ago they asked me to help on the truck part time to make some cash. My first job was at DEC cooking bread. We went to some races. That was my first taste of the fast speed of selling food from a food truck and I liked it. The original owners were Tony and Chad
Kim: I had known Tony for 20 years. I had been in the corporate world and was ready to out. My first job was working at Chuck E Cheese and I worked my way up through each company I worked for. Tony needed help so I did a double shift at DEC and and then worked Mardi Gras. Right off the rip Jessica and I connected. We worked so well together that Tony started leaving it to us.I could tell Tony was getting burned out so I talked to Jess about about us buying it. We were working it every day. I was still cleaning houses on the side. He gave us an offer. At Thanksgiving 2019, we started making it happen and we began learning how to start a business
Jess: I am a mom with a 14 year old, 11 year old and 4 year old. The kids were running around while we were trying to concentrate. We started working at night after the kids went to bed and stayed up all night several nights working on the business plan. We started out with zero money but thought we would be able to get some kind of grants for women starting businesses. Those took time that we didn’t have. The terms on the sale changed and we had to come up with the entire amount up front to buy it.
Kim: We were stressed out, we had a week left to pay and not a dime. Out of nowhere a friend from Mobile who had seen all of our hard work handed us a check that covered most of the purchase and we will pay him back as we can with no interest. I am the only person that knows who it is. Jess knows who it is, but she doesn’t know who it is. We bought the truck on the January 27th, with no startup capital.
Jess: Mardi Gras was 2 weeks away. We did everything we could to make money. We cleaned condos, sold scrap metal, and did yard sales. Friends and family gave us things to sale. They gave us money too. We took turns stressing out, but we never gave up and always thought it would work. We rebranded and changed the name from Hotdoggery to Hotdoghery.
Kim: We spent our personal money into this, too. Then came all of the taxes, fees, and licenses.
Jess: I cried in the city department because they told me $1,010 had to be paid up front to serve at Mardi Gras. We just put in the food order and we were tapped.
Kim: Everyone is paid up at the moment and we are back to zero dollars.
Jess: We don’t have a truck to pull this trailer and neither one of us knows how to back up the trailer. Thankfully we have friends who are helping us to pull it. But one day a truck will come and we will learn. On Valentine’s Day we gave away a romantic free dinner for two. We decorated and had candelight and served hot dogs on silver platters and made it special. Those are the things we are excited to do.
Kim: We are also giving fifty percent off to police officers in uniform during Mardi Gras. We are giving back before we are able to, but it is the right thing to do and who we want to be. We want to hook up with a pet shelter and work together. No is no longer a part of our vocabulary. We make the most of every yes. We started this as best friends and have remained best friends during the hardest times making this happen. We serve the best hotdogs around. It is the buns we use, the variety of hotdogs and sausages, and the toppings like Bill E’s bacon. Five years ago I never would have seen myself here. I would have been all about making money. Now it is so much fun getting out of an office and meeting people all over the place. We are doing Pensacola Pride in a few weeks and we can’t wait to do that.
Jess: We want to franchise and have a brick and mortar store. We want to invest in other women and work with causes that speak out against sexual assault When we were working the cart, we used to tell people we owned it. We spoke this into being and we are grateful to all of the friends, family, and strangers who have helped us get this far. We have our own business and are serving at Mardi Gras because of prayer and hard work. This is just the beginning.
(The Hotdoghery is at Serda’s Brewing Company at 600 Government Street during Mardi Gras)