Kid's Hot Dog Stand Shut Down by City Officials Before It Even Opens

This summer, 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski wanted to make some money to help out his disabled parents—his mom has epilepsy and his dad has multiple sclerosis. So he decided to open a hot dog stand. He saved $1,200, mostly money made by mowing lawns and shoveling snow. He checked with the city to make sure he didn't need any licenses or permits, even going to city hall in person with his mom. And then he bought a cart. (Yep, that's hot dogs from Nathan's, for those who are keeping score at home.) 

He arrived to set up shop on his first day and 10 minutes later, a zoning official arrived to shut him down. The problem: The cart, which is in the parking lot of a sporting goods store, is on the edge of official downtown commercial district of Holland, Michigan. The city bans food carts in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants a couple of blocks away.

As it happens, I've been to Holland. It's a lovely town, but not exactly a booming metropolis. And frankly (ha!), after an evening of Blue Motorcycles Butch's Dry Dock, a hot dog would really have hit the spot. The city says it is willing to work with Nathan, but keeping food carts out of the small, walkable downtown area is pretty much the same thing as banning food carts altogether. Nathan and his family obviously know that: The hot dog cart is now for sale.

The Mackinac Center has made a nice little video about the ridiculous story:

More on zoned out lemonade stands. More on food carts and trucks.

UPDATE: You can help Nathan out by going here.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Pip||

    "This summer, 13-year-old Nathan Duszynski wanted to make some money to help out his disabled parents—his mom has epilepsy and his dad has multiple sclerosis."

    Someone needs to teach this idiot that taking care of his parents is the role of government.

  • Mr. Soul||

    good ole reliable Nathan.

  • CE||

    Shouldn't they also have shut this down to prevent the kid from hiring child labor (himself)?

  • clougho||

    I agree. He also is in direct violation of a non contributor to ObamaCare. That'll cost him a $2000 fine, er tax um fine, ah I mean tax.

  • WWNGD?||

    IF only Obama was around to help that kid build his business.

  • CapitalistRunningDog||

    Damn, that just breaks my heart.

  • R C Dean||

    This time, we really can say "He didn't build that hot dog stand", can't we?

  • Auric Demonocles||

    If you've got a heart problem-you didn't break that. Someone else made that happen.

  • John||

    He didn't buy that hot dog cart. He wouldn't have been able to mow those lawns if it wasn't for police and teachers and government and all of the services that civilization provides. So fuck him. If the city says he can't have a business, then he can't have a business. It will teach him a valuable lesson that civilization is not free and you can't just go around do what you want. There are rules and ways of doing things. That is what the fucking wingnuts don't get.

  • Pro Libertate||

    If it weren't for Hitler, you wouldn't be here if you were born in the last sixty years. Think about it.

  • SKR||

    Oh, he can have a business, just not in any location that could possibly be profitable. You know because the profit motive is eeeevil.

  • John||

    That is right it is. If he cared, he would be giving those things away to the homeless. Selfish, little bastard.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Thankfully, the government won't let him poison hapless homeless people with hot dogs either.

  • ||

    Well except for entrenched well connected competition.

  • CE||

    Without the city ordinances forcing residents to maintain their lawns, no one would have paid him to mow their lawns in the first place. So no, he didn't save that money.

    Plus, why the heck is he saving money in a recession anyway? He should have spent it immediately, or borrowed against it before he even earned it!

  • Mike0oSS||

    "That is what the fucking wingnuts don't get.".......Leave it to a liberal to elevate the conversation to the next level....

  • ant1sthenes||

    What is this I don't even

  • Raston Bot||

    Wow, a whole 10 minutes for zoning to show up. Hey zoning employees and everyone who believes in zoning and planning their perfect little city where everything is tucked into their neat little corners, FUCK YOU.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    But don't you dare suggest that the city's payroll can be cut one bit.

  • Tim||

    Hot dog carts are the AK-47's of urban fast food.

  • Julie Ershadi||

    Butch's Dry WHAT?!?!...oh, wait...

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    1. I, too, have been to Holland, Michigan. It is a piece of shit that might as well be Flint as their existences have the same amount of utility to me, which is zero. And the yacht club gave me food poisoning.

    2. Hot dog carts are not in competition with sit down places. He may be in competition for workers going to lunch spots because its quick and they don't give a shit about the charm of the community.

    3. All those official districts that are established to play games with property tax rates are fucking gay.

    Fuck Holland.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    The city bans food carts in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants a couple of blocks away.

    If I didn't have absolute trust and faith in my government and its officials, I would think this was some kind of rent-seeking arrangement.

    But that's just crazy-talk.

  • dinfeee||

    Stupid city officials are useless too bad the dad has MS Im, sure he would have love to beat the cr@p out of the useless inspector. Worthless P O S

    www.Anon-Rules.tk

  • Brandybuck||

    On the bright side, Nathan has learned a valuable life lesson.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    The utility of political contributions?

  • Brandybuck||

    You gotta provide your own reach around.

  • George N. Weezie||

    Both parties of this 2 party dictatorship are pushing this. It was George H.W. Bush that signed us onto this crazy train in 1992. We have loads of this crap in Georgia that is coming from a repub state congress and a repub governor. They just passed a law calling for the legal definition of "sustainable agriculture". What that means is, if you don't pay Pioneer (DuPont) or Monsanto loads of money, you ain't acting "sustainably".

  • Jeep Driver||

    Obama ought to use this story as an example of how Government helps build businesses for people.........Oh wait, this is a bad example

  • CE||

    If you have a profitable restaurant in downtown Holland, you didn't build that! The local government inspectors helped you stay profitable, by shutting down ambitious kids with the hot dog cart empire plans.

  • ||

    ambitious kids

    Ambitious kids work for the benefit of the community, for example by organizing it.

    Nathan is just a selfish, greedy, individualistic kid who got what was coming to him from the zoning official representing the community.

  • Defibulator||

    I think his parents need to be brought up on charges by Holder for violating Child Labor laws and then the IRS needs to get involved because you know there was no Federal Tax ID number and he has not paid any taxes on his expenditures. This is clearly a situation the Feds need to step in and set an example so that no other enterprising young adults get any ideas of who is really in charge of their lives and free will. Somebody needs to pay, and pay BIGTIME! All Praise pur subjugation to Govt Will.

  • CE||

    Hey, if they make a special exemption for kids with hot dog carts, every greedy capitalist is going to adopt a kid and force them to sell hot dogs downtown.

  • vicky||

    Why not just give us the choice to buy his hotdogs or NOT!

    I guess "choice" only matters if you are liberal wanting an abortion.

  • ||

    You had me at "Michigan".

  • formermichigander||

    Nate sounds like a fine young man and the only lesson he may be learning from this is that politics often gets in the way of reason. You would think one of the existing restaurants would link up / "connect" with Nate and thereby allow him to operate his cart. Seems like it would be a "win-win" situation for the restaurant given the positive publicity such a move would make. Let's hope there is at least one business person that sees the value in such a move.

  • Robert||

    What I could see one of them doing is subcontracting to him. He'd be in their alley, cooking hot dogs exclusively for the restaurant's kitchen. Everybody makes money, everybody's happy.

  • ||

    I don't know if it's in the video, but a local business bought Nathan's hot dog cart for $2500.

  • Defibulator||

    Well, I sure hope he gets taxed fully on that evil profit he just got. That boy needs to be taught a lesson on who is really in charge in Holland MI

  • CE||

    Government: protecting their buddies from the rest of us, as usual.

  • GILMORE||

    The city says it is willing to work with Nathan

    "nice business you have there...shame if something were to happen to it.... maybe we can work something out"

  • clougho||

    "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse"

  • Chucky||

    So how can we make a little donation for this young man? Any ideas?

  • Drake||

    A bus ticket to somewhere free? I'm trying to think of a place.

  • George N. Weezie||

    They have infested 98% of the nation. You could try to run to the 2%, but they will not hold out long unless we awaken to this danger.
    See: www.nado.org and read the pdf file about who they are. They have the audacity to refer to themselves as "grass tops" of a grass roots movement. There is no grass roots movement as they are manipulating environmentalists to their end; control over you and your land. It literally has nothing to do with protecting the environment. They are merely using that as cover.

  • IDENGAS||

    If you paid taxes for your restaraunt and some kid was taking your business in your tax paid parking lot I would bitch too. Sorry Nathan, and the story about his parents was NOT in the local news here. This is the Drudgereport being just like ABC.

  • George N. Weezie||

    This fear of competition is how the UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development proponents have conned the local, state and international Chambers of Commerce into playing along with the charade. They promise if zoning/codes are passed, it will protect mom and pop businesses and keep out competition. It is a lie and you will find out soon enough.

  • Paul.||

    If you paid taxes for your restaraunt and some kid was taking your business in your tax paid parking lot I would bitch too.

    Then the answer is to boycott the restaraunts in the area.

  • JGS||

    You are wrong. The local news DID report about his parents.

    WZZM Channel 13 reported on 7/18/12... The boy wanted to use the profits to pay for college and help out his parents, who suffer from epilepsy and multiple sclerosis.

  • phryxian houndmaster||

    I'd bitch too, but it wouldn't be directed at Nathan. A little would be aimed at myself, for being less competent at navigating around existing taxation structures than a 13 year old. The rest would be aimed at the power structure that held individuals to different standards. Of course, some of you might bitch at the individuals you perceive as getting an unfair advantage, but you're playing right into the hands of the power structure when you do that. Is no one else familiar with the old bootcamp trick of punishing the rest of the division while letting one recruit off the hook? Sure, it was infuriating, but it never seemed all that difficult to keep in mind that the RDC was actually the one to be angry at. And heck, I was so young and sleep deprived, I wasn't even truly sentient back then.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, first of all, it wasn't any of the restaurants' parking lot. It was a sporting goods store's.

    That said, yeah, I'd probably bitch. As much as possible, I like a sure thing, just like most people. That doesn't mean I'd be right. It would mean that I was angry that my rent-seeking scheme got undermined.

  • George N. Weezie||

    This is "UN Agenda 21 Sustainable Development". It is designed to increase the power of government while eliminating private property rights.
    They have created a grant money scam to hook city and county governments on "free" money. Once they take the bait, they must then sacrifice your rights in order to keep getting the fed and state grant money. The fed money accounts for 45% of the grants. The money flows from the "presidents council on sustainable development" and from the "whitehouse rural council" and is funneled through 22 fed agencies such as HUD, DHS and DOD. Their local minions are called "regional development commissions" or "regional commissions"(there are also 13 more different names for these groups; confusing by design). They call themselves "quasi-government" and their employees refer to themselves as "facilitators".
    Michigan has a bad infection of these parasites, but don't feel special as there are over 500 of them spread throughout 98% of the land mass of the US.
    http://www.wmsrdc.org/
    www.nado.org D.C. based lobby arm that the commissions pay dues to. They are an NGO with "consultative status" to the UN. They will never stop until we destroy the con that is the regional commission system by stopping their state funding through departments such as your state "department of community affairs". Look up the story of Andrew Wordes and what Roswell GA did to him.
    Ultimately, this is the new face of eugenics with a touch of neo-malthusian BS.

  • vladimir||

    I imagine if the kid was a muslim, he would have had no problems, unless he sold pork hotdogs. Michigan might as well be illinois same assholes run it. The kid and his family need to move to the south where he would be allowed to operate a stand. My prayers are with him and his family, the obamanites have now stamped another decent person's dream.

  • clougho||

    See what happens to you if you are not in a union. The local 737 hot doggers local is up in arms for allowing this to happen.

  • Robert||

    Unfortunately the naive libertarian answer to this is not a good one that'd favor individual liberty in the overall. More unfortunately, I don't think there is a good principled libertarian answer here.

    A smart activist from Wash. state or thereabouts pointed out years ago on Libernet-d the problem with naive laissez faire in situations where you first have zoning and tax-supported provision of infrastructure and services. The latter is not as efficient as privatiz'n would be, but it exists and would be impossible to untangle without someone's getting screwed.

    Local gov't provision of things like streets y sewers, and of services, all supported by taxes, especially property taxes (which tie them to a location), while often a raw deal, is of a different, far lesser order of injustice y inefficiency than deliberate redistribution. When zoning is imposed, people who buy a lot, innocently, in return for the encumbrance of their own zoning, get as compensation zoning restrictions on their neighbors. These provisions tend to run with the land as part of the real property package, and so changes to them amount to a taking (or giving, as applicable).

  • George N. Weezie||

    "Naive libertarian idea", hunh? Read this story: http://www.naturalnews.com/035.....ckens.html

    Taking land for a "carbon sink" that is euphemistically called a "green space" or "open space" is well beyond sewage, garbage service, road maintenance, etc. It proves, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the religious philosophy of anthropogenic climate change and the wiccan religious philosophy of Gaism have been eagerly accepted by the violent machine of government.

    Shutting down a child's hot dog or lemonade stand pales in comparison to the powers they seek in the name of psychotic environmentalism. It is not even about the environment as the monopoly men, using taxpayer money, are exploiting government power to achieve their ends. This is evil.

  • Robert||

    OK, but I don't understand how that's a "reply".

  • Muad'Dib||

    I have a reply for you. Fuck you!

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Should that not be "fuck off, slaver!"?

  • Robert||

    I mean, what does the chicken man have to do with this?

  • oscar meyer||

    Hot dogs are pork usually. Could there be a Muslim sensitivity issue here?
    Just wondering?
    Someone's a dumbass. That's for sure !!!!!!!!
    GO NATHAN !!

  • Mr Whipple||

    He didn't build that.

    Those fascist bastards would probably shut down Memoma's pit beef stand.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2IgYmNAru6k

  • Mike0oSS||

    I'm surprised the kid wasn't Drawn and Quartered on the spot....

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Shit. Where's shrike to blame this kid's plight on Romney?

    And why hasn't Obama stepped in to save this kid's business?

  • ant1sthenes||

    It's a good thing he didn't light himself on fire in protest, or we might be looking at an American Spring right now.

  • rkworth||

    hey holland mi.. stick the tulip festival where the sun don't shine - and i will never spend another dime in your cra* city. i'll also make sure to mention this b.s. to the 5600+ customers we have that shop our 2 stores. enjoy!

  • ||

    Agreed, and the tulip festival pretty much sucked the one time I drove the family across the state to go to it, anyway.

  • entropy||

    She didn't build it.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Reason gets some Drudge heat and it has to be on a KMW post with a pun like that.

  • ||

    Let her know what you think and we may take back America from this Tyrannical mob of self important leeches. They are property taxing us to ruin while preempting this kid from learning about business.She will tell you it's out of her hands and the rule of law but it is really her passion to control everything going on in town.
    Contact Information
    ... j.mascorro@cityofholland.com Housing Inspector: Tricia Dreier Direct: 616.355.1339 Email t.dreier@cityofholland.com ...
    Department Contacts Page - Last update: July 23rd, 2012
    Housing Board of Appeals
    ... Appeals regular meeting. Please direct questions to Tricia Dreier t.dreier@cityofholland.com ; 616.355.1330.

  • ||

    Chicago is worse with the bribes you are forced to pay or inspectors will find multiple reasons to fine you and shut you down. while the red carpet is rolled out for the corporatist company showering politicians a little greasy campaign money. Cheers, to the corrupt political class and their cronies like this Gal Tricia. She could have let him go a week and see for himself this is a tough way to make a living or raise money. How sad we have lost our republic to sloth and men and women who have no brains running the asylums.

  • Thogek||

    "The city bans food carts in that area in order to minimize competition for the eight tax-paying restaurants a couple of blocks away."

    Ah, yes, government protectionism of local businesses, at the expense of... well... other local businesses.

    Sigh.

    If the kid's hot dog stand turns out to be so good (compared to existing local restaurants) that it can significantly cut into the local restaurants' business, isn't that a message the city's local restaurant-going citizens might like the local restaurants to get?

  • underwaterfrog||

    Nathan,
    Try to open a hot dog stand and they'll shut you down in 10 minutes. Run a forex company and siphon billions of dollars from your client accounts and you can operate until every last penny is gone and not be charged criminally.
    Our Gov. is a den of thieves.

  • Robert||

    Then why don't we all do that?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    You have to be a Dem Gov then become a Dem Senator, and bundle millions for the Lightworker first - then you can go a swindlin'!

  • Anticitizen||

    How dare he trying to provide for himself and help his family! Doesn't he know that Obama is taking care of all that!

  • JSebastian||

    if a kid like this went on a shooting spree at city hall would anyone give a shit? when govt has stomped on enough people then the victims will rise up and there will hopefully be a bloody revolution that begins with the executions of state flunkeys, thugs, leaders, and facilitators. It would be a great thing to be able to purge the gene pool of the kinds of people who pretend to be the masters of others....who treat them as if they were mere subjects and property. if it were a genetic thing then maybe one could design a bioweapon to eradicate these pests. as it is, it might be something that has to be done manually.

  • CZmacure||

    It is real simple. Everything is Illegal and you are a criminal:
    http://www.disclose.tv/action/....._criminal/

  • db||

    Kid's parents ought to sell the cart at a loss and write it off on their taxes. Then move outside the city limits of taxation.

  • mredt||

    Let the little guy sell hot dogs he is using the funds for helping his family. if he was 501c3 non profit you would have nothing to say where he could sell the hot dogs. To bad this has to happen to this good kid.

  • albertdaniel||

    What a dam shame !!!.

  • AlwaysQuestionGovernment||

    ===PART 1

    Nathan learned these valuable lessons: (I live in Roanoke, VA)

    a. That his government doesn't give a rip about the disabled.

    b. Young men ought not to care about their parents - according to the government

    c. Good intentions aren't enough. It takes a village, not a brave, abitious hard working young man. It takes an Obama to make that happen. You tried to do it alone. They slapped your hands. Now you got to hire a lawyer.

    d. The government exists to prevent fun, honorable actions.

    f. If you open a business with dignity, by going to the government to make sure you're obeying the laws, the government will eventually slap you in the face, ruin your reputation and shut you down. Ain't American great?!

    g. It is right to form a lobby to change the local laws. Laws this stupid are not meant to be carved in stone. A outside cart does not compare fully with eat-in, sit-down business. He learned that it is good to fully question highly questionable actions, laws and business in the hands of government manipulators. Questions like: How much can a outdoor cart down the road hurt their business? What about colaboration? Would those business? Would they be willing to contribute to the boy's efforts in any way?

  • AlwaysQuestionGovernment||

    ===PART 2

    h. Moving to a bigger town might be more profitable than dealing with a low population. On the other hand, the people in the town might see the merits of his work and buy up all his hotdogs each day for a couple of years just to make a neighborly gesture of 'good job young man'. Instead, the young man must be emotionally devistated to receive a mountain of government discrimination.

    i. Save for a lawyer before going into business. This is what American looks like for all businesses. Lawyers are todays knights, but very higly paid.

    j. Watching you parent suffer in their illness is a more worthy thing to do - in the oppinion of the local government. Now, run home, fold your hands, do nothing but watch them suffer.

    Yep. These are the lessons the local government wants to project. Great job Holland, Michigan! Have you no heart?! Where is your conscience!? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What a worthless way to impose regs on honorable activities. Find a way to make this young man successful for himself and his parents. Otherwise, go down in history as just another foolish local government acting without conscience.

  • AlwaysQuestionGovernment||

    The Holland, MI govt - What a bunch of un-relished raw wieners with flat buns and no condiments!! I mean frankly!

  • jacob the barbarian||

    The real solution is to march on city hall and burn it to the fucking ground. While the building is a blazing the rats will come scurrying out, shoot them as they emerge. Repeat in as many towns and counties as necessary. After that, problem solved.

    Long live the Lemonade and hot dog stands.

  • mickrussom||

    Police state USA 2012. Freedom is gone, its a dream, rights are not natural, they are given by an all powerful and corrupt government. The individual is dead and oligarchical collectivism is everywhere. The individual has no chance to be free where there is collectivism and oligarchical oligopoly. We are going into 1984, Logan's Run, Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451. Welcome.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    They showed up in 10 minutes to shut him down...what are the odds that they would show up to help him in 10 minutes if he was being robbed?

  • LTC(ret) John||

    When seconds count, the police are only minutes away!

  • Tamfang||

    Maybe the zoning inspector was having a slow day.

  • Adamada||

    Typical left wing tactics of excessive regulation to stifle growth.

  • ||

    So, if you hate this as much as I do, feel free to tell them.

    Here is the mayor's email: k.dykstra@cityofholland.com. Feel free to say hi. City Manager: manager@cityofholland.com. Downtown dev authority: dda@cityofholland.com. Improvements: cns@cityofholland.com

  • Cult of Personality||

    MO' GUBMINT, MO' GUBMINT, MO' GUBMINT, MO' GUBMINT, MO' GUBMINT, MO' GUBMINT.

    Evil capitalist was obviously trying to make Americans even fatter.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement