Helping With Hot Dogs

This food cart vendor is turning tips into charitable donations.

How much can a hot dog help? That was one of the first questions Christy and Ken Post asked themselves when setting up KC Hot Dogs (formerly Kenz Hot Dogs). Because their busy schedules don’t allow them to volunteer a lot of time to charity, when the Ocala couple first set up shop outside the Lowe’s on Southwest 90th Street in the spring of 2019 they made the decision to donate all their tips to local nonprofit organizations.

They first tried out their new business on the weekends. A month later, they had to shut down amid pandemic restrictions. But Christy already had the hot dog bug.

“I was like, I like this. I want to do this,” she remembers. So, while the hot dog cart was on hiatus for a year, she got her business license, stayed in touch with the company that contracts vendors for Lowe’s to make sure they kept their spot, and researched organizations that support Marion County people and animals in need.

Christy, a marketing representative, quit her job so she could run the hot dog stand full-time when they opened back up in mid-April. Ken, an environmental safety manager, helps her on weekends.

The couple kept the same recipe for success Ken had used when he owned hot dog carts in Anchorage, Alaska more than a decade ago: “A couple good sausage dogs with a good reindeer hot dog,” Christy says. “We kind of brought Alaska here with the reindeer—it’s something different; you don’t see it here. But when you go to Alaska, it’s very popular there. We actually got the exclusivity from the company so we’re the only one in Florida who’s going to sell it.”

In their first full month of operation, KC Hot Dogs’ tip jar took in $1,011, which the animal lovers donated to Voices of Change Animal League (VOCAL).

“We knew a lady who worked there and a couple times we were going to foster, but with the animals we have it wasn’t going to work,” Christy explains.

Their second month, the couple was able to donate $1,004 to Hospice of Marion County. Their third month, tips were earmarked for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office Foundation K-9 fund. And in mid-August, tips collected from the previous month will be donated to a cause very close to their hearts, The Pittie Party of Central Florida.

“We got our puppy, Camden, from them and he’ll be a year old in August,” Christy reveals, explaining that the organization rescues, fosters and rehomes pit bulls. “It’s just amazing. They do great things.”

The same can surely be said about this compassionate grill master.

KC Hot Dogs is located at 7575 SW 90th Street outside the Lowe’s store entrance and is open Monday through Saturday (rain or shine) from 10:30am to 3pm.

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