By Claire Atwell
UNC Staff Writer
the Durham VOICE
Cassandra Thompson had never tried one of Joe’s Dogs when owner Joseph Bushfan offered her a job last month as she walked by his hot dog stand.
Now, she’s his number one seller.
“These hot dogs are delicious,” said Thompson, originally from Roxboro, while piling chili on one of the famous half-pound dogs on Monday. “They’re the best I’ve ever had, and I’ve tried a lot of hot dogs.”
Thompson sells the hot dogs at the Joe’s Dogs, a hot dog stand on the corner of Angier Avenue and Driver Street in the heart of Northeast Central Durham.
Bushfan buys the all-beef and sausage hot dogs from a vendor in Boston, where he grew up. They have quickly become known around the community as “the best hot dogs in the world.”
Thompson said she likes her job as a hot dog vendor because it allows her the opportunity to meet many members of the community.
“I have regular costumers that come by and get a hot dog every day. Then there are other people that just like to sit down with me and chat. I love getting to talk to people and hearing about their days,” she said.
Thompson said that even in tough economic times she gets a lot of business.
“Everyone loves these hot dogs,” she said.
Joe’s Dogs is the first of several businesses that Bushfan has started on the corner of Angier Avenue and Driver Street. He is hoping to revitalize one of Northeast Central Durham’s roughest corners with a sandwich shop, Internet café and small grocery store.
Tom Key, building contractor for Bushfan’s businesses on Angier Ave., often stops over at the hot dog stand to buy water or soda while his crew works on the grocery store, which is set to open next door to the stand by the end of December.
“I hope these places will help clean the neighborhood up a little bit,” Key said. “This used to be a pretty rough area.”
Bushfan is partnering with TROSA, the Triangle Residential Options for Substance Abusers, to open the supermarket. It will carry a wide range of products, but no alcohol or tobacco.
Thompson said she thinks that these shops will get Northeast Central Durham moving in the right direction.
“The grocery store will be very convenient for members of the community who would have to walk or catch a ride to get to Lowes Foods,” she said.
According to a report by the City of Durham, one of the most concerning health issues in this community is the lack of access to healthy, affordable grocery stores with fresh produce. Full-service grocery stores, such as Lowes, Kroger and Food Lion, are all at least one and a half miles away from the neighborhoods of Northeast Central Durham.
Bushfan’s market would offer healthy options at affordable prices in the very heart of Northeast Central Durham.
“I think these businesses will really bring the community together,” Thompson said.
Thompson has watched the corner of Angier Avenue and Driver Street transform from a sad sight of boarded-up windows to a place where residents will be able to buy food, order a sandwich and work on the computer.
And, of course, grab a hot dog.