We made kind of a big deal about Wandering Wieners when we first found out about the Cal Anderson Park hot dog cart. It hit all the right spots. Independent, affordable, street.
But you may have noticed WW hasn’t been in the park much lately. Owner Andrea Utley said her little business is struggling but not because people don’t want to buy hot dogs from the park’s sole licensed food vendor.
“We’ve dissolved the partnership behind the business,” Utley said.
This article from the Seattle University student newspaper tells some of the story of how WW came to be. Utley brought her experience running Wandering Wieners in Montana to the big city of Seattle. She decided to partner, she said, to help run the business and create a work schedule to allow the single mother to spend time with her two daughters. But partnering only brought problems.
“There were too many hands in the cookie jar and I didn’t have any ownership of my business anymore,” Utley said.
Now she is trying to pull things together on her own again. There is a money dispute with two of the former partners and another person previously involved with the business still controls her Wandering Wieners Web site domain, Facebook account and first Twitter account. Andrea has since created a new, legit Wandering Wieners account @wanderingwieners to spread the word about her business — and, she says, fend off some of the nasty messages still being sent out on the other account.
She is planning to open the stand when she can but right now scheduling is a problem. She’s looking for help running the business but more as an employee than a business partner, for now. And she could use some help on the legal front if somebody would like to get involved with a case representing a hot dog stand and a single mother entrepreneur trying to keep a tiny business alive.
“I would love some help. I’m in the hole,” Utley said. “I have to move and I don’t want to move. Everything is gross right now.”
But Utley said she is looking forward to digging back in and making Wandering Wieners a success. “I’ll be out there on the 4th of July,” she said. “It’s only a hot dog cart. There were too many people involved. Now it’s just me.”