Woman Gives Up Steady Paycheck To Become Hot Dog Vendor

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Your eyes are not playing tricks on you if that lady preparing your hot dog looks a lot like the dental assistant who helped care for your teeth.

After 13 years in the medical profession, seven of those working for Dr. Scott Anderson, Dar Taylor hung up her scrubs last month in favor of a cook's apron.

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Dar Taylor, a former dental assistant, now owns and operates Dar's Deli Connection mobile hot dog stand. Most often, the stand can be found from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. in the parking lot of Ace Hardware on Beeline Highway.

In her new attire, she operates Dar's Deli Connection mobile hot dog cart stationed four days a week in the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Payson.

Thus far, her entrepreneurial endeavor has been a raging success.

"Every day I've been here, business has gotten better," she said. "I'm even starting to have repeat customers."

Taylor admits the thought of giving up a regular biweekly paycheck in favor of not-so-secure ownership of Payson's first individual hot dog stand, had her questioning her decision making abilities.

"I wondered a long time, but finally decided ‘I can do that'," she said.

Some family members, however, weren't so enthusiastic.

"My dad told me to keep the (regular) paydays," she said.

But buoyed by the challenge of wanting to do something unusual and different in her life, Taylor began planning the endeavor with the help of her husband, local contractor Steve Taylor.

"He knows a lot about (hot dog stands) because he can never pass one by at the Home Depots in the Valley without buying a hot dog," Dar Taylor said.

The two researched the vending operations on the Internet, first searching for a state-of-the art cart that would meet all safety, sanitary, towing and licensing requirements.

After finding just what they wanted from a major West Coast manufacturer, the two researched product costs.

"We even figured out how much an ounce of mustard would cost us," Taylor said.

Next, they had to settle on prices and find distributors who had just the right products they were hoping to sell.

The two finally decided to buy supplies from two Valley-area food supplies.

With the planning and purchasing completed, Taylor was off to her first day as an individual business owner with all the eagerness of a kindergartner showing up for the opening day of school.

"I thought, ‘Hey, this is a lot of fun'," she said. "It was a lot different than a dentist's office and kind of exciting."

Monday through Thursday, Taylor tows the vendor's cart from the family home, sets it up near Ace and is up and running about 11 a.m.

At about 2:30 p.m., if not still swamped by eager hot dog eaters, she begins shutting down.

"Setting up and taking down is the tough work," she said. "Selling the hot dogs is the easiest."

The type of hot dogs customers are eager for can vary from day to day.

"Sometimes it's Chicago dogs, other (days) it's brats and sometimes regular hot dogs," Taylor said.

"Planning for what (products) to bring any certain day is tough."

Although there are different demands in her new venture, Taylor has enjoyed some unexpected fringe benefits.

"I met a lot of new people and most are very friendly and happy with what I sell," Taylor said.

Probably the most unexpected happenstance occurred a week ago when two customers purchased their mustard-laden frankfurters and scooted inside the Ace Hardware garden shop to a patio table and chair set where they quietly enjoyed their lunch.

"I thought, ‘Oh no, Ace (managers) are going to be really upset," she said. "But when I went to apologize, they said ‘that's OK, the people bought the patio furniture.'"

As Taylor settles into her new routine, she's thankful she has finally rid herself of a concessionaire's bugaboo that dogged her the first week on the job.

"I don't dream about hot dogs any more," she said. "For a while, I was dreaming every night about hot dogs."

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