A good day for dogs in Smith Park; first food vendor arrives

February 8, 2012

Business

A sunny, spring-like day brought Fred Garrott and his hotdog cart out to Smith Park Wednesday to mark the start of what he hopes will be a thriving lunch trade.

He got off to a good start, with all but three of the 40 premium all-beef dogs sold by 12:30.

Fred Garrott and his hotdog cart out to Smith Park Wednesday

Chris Brown of the nearby Mississippi College of Law came by and bought one of the remaining delectables. “I’ve been looking for you,” Brown said to Garrott, promising to let students at the college know about the new lunch option.

The next visitors weren’t buyers but Garrott was OK with that. They came from a local television to get a rundown on the day’s sales and Garrott’s expectations for the future.

Garrott said he’s expecting to start slow but is anticipating a good up-tick in trade Monday when the Downtown Jackson Partners sends out an e-mail blast announcing the dog cart’s arrival. “No telling how many people that is going to bring,” he said.

Garrott is semi-retired and started the hotdog vending business as part of his business Casual Catering LLC. Proceeds will go to local pet rescue efforts, he said.

He’s always been an entrepreneur, he said, and like many in that vein, he prefers to operate solo. “I work better by myself. I always have,” he said.

He may not be alone for long, however. The city’s new food truck ordinance allows any number of mobile food vendors to set up practically anywhere in the city, provided the trucks meet health and sanitation rules. Most of the vendors, some of whom are contemplating some above-average cuisine, including Mexican and barbecue, say Smith Park is where they want to be.

But for now, you can find Garrott on the portion of Smith Park facing West Street on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., or until whenever he runs out of dogs.

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