Nearly every pedestrian walking up and down Atlantic Avenue on Monday and Tuesday afternoon stopped and walked toward a small cart with a tent on a section of grass just outside of the office building at 74 Atlantic Ave.
After a minute or two, they’d come back onto the sidewalk, a smile on their face and a fresh hot dog in hand.
The cart is a hot-dog stand, Mad-Dogz Hot Dog Cart, owned and operated by Marblehead High School student Maddie Ferris, who has had her eyes set on starting a business since she was young.
“Mad-Dogz all started about a year-and-a-half ago. I didn’t know what it would be called yet, I didn’t even know what business it would be,” Ferris said. “But ever since I was a little kid I always wanted to start my very own business.”
After months of preparation, the 16-year-old, who will be a junior in the fall, accomplished that goal as the Mad-Dogz grand opening took place on Monday.
The stand will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. most days of the week throughout the summer.
The idea came after Ferris began researching businesses that 16-year-olds would be able to run by themselves. To her surprise, and enjoyment, a hot-dog stand was feasible, and she soon found a cart for sale on Facebook Marketplace that launched the dream.
“I incorporated a school project into it,” Ferris said. “So I’ve been working on it all year long and kind of documenting how it’s been going, the ups and downs and everything.”
The name is a fun play on words using her first name in conjunction with the product that is being sold.
The stand offers the ballpark specialty at $4 a pop and customers can also purchase other snacks like chips and candy, along with an assortment of soft drinks.
At the stand right beside Ferris, helping make payments and assisting on orders was fellow high-school student Liv Goldwater. She helps out on the business’ social-media accounts and anywhere else Ferris needs assistance.
“I’m just going to help her out with anything she needs,” Goldwater said.
At the high school, Goldwater works closely with the marketing director, so it was a no-brainer that she would help out her close friend.
Also helping out was Ferris’ father, Fred Ferris, who is also a business owner in town at Marblehead Hardware. When his daughter approached him and said that she wanted to start a business, he said he almost jumped out of his chair.
“It’s been exciting for her,” said Fred Ferris.
“Lot’s of growing pains. At 16, it’s tough to clamp down and say ‘Now I have to get my ServeSafe, my business license, now I have to get an EEI number. These are things that adults don’t even want to do,” he jokingly added.
Ferris said that she will be at the same location for the rest of the summer until school starts in the fall and that she aims to get the business model down as precisely as possible. The grand-opening announcement on social media drew a number of positive responses, as well as in-person, with many saying that they are glad to finally see a hot-dog stand pop up in town.
Ferris said that she wants to start more businesses in the future and has an interest in real estate.
Though she didn’t necessarily plan for it, the opening comes at a perfect time with the Fourth of July right around the corner.
“I’m not planning on going anywhere this summer,” Ferris said. “It’s great, I hope business is good. It’s going to be crazy and busy, but a lot of people are happy there’s a hot-dog cart in town again.”