'Hot Dog Man'
John Price Had
An Idea That
Paid Off Big
BY KRISTEN BUCKLES
The Hot Dog Man, as he is perhaps best known locally, has a special holiday plan that may well put a smile (or at least a smear of ketchup or mustard) on shoppers' faces in the coming weekends.
John Price, owner and operator of Top Dog Hot Dogs, normally brings his popular cart to the downtown area.
Each Saturday through the holidays, however, Price will set up from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. with his hot dogs and more in front of Belk, located in the Greeneville Commons Shopping Center.
The extra hours for hot-dog-lovers at the Commons were a direct result of an entrepreneurial instinct that led Price to set up shop there at 2:30 a.m. on Black Friday.
It was a good hunch.
Price did not disassemble his stand for another 13 hours as business remained brisk throughout the day that is considered the top shopping day of the year.
His only break was a quick lunch while his son, Tony, staffed the stand.
"I didn't have time to shop," Price noted. "It was a very successful day -- very good."
Although the Commons parking lot was nearly empty when he arrived, he said, it was not long before business began to pick up, and the country ham biscuits he had specially on hand began to be a popular item.
Not only did he sell about 30 biscuits, he said he sold numerous cups of coffee and hot chocolate, as well as enjoying the earliest hot dog sale he has ever made.
"I sold my first hot dog at 7:30 that morning!" he said, laughing.
"I guess when you're up from midnight to whenever, you don't know what time [lunch] is."
The hot drinks and hot dogs were so popular and well-received by Belk customers that Price said store manager Amy Hamilton asked him to return each Saturday through the holidays during the department store's special sales.
Price agreed, and said he will be present with hot coffee and hot chocolate to accompany his traditional fare.