For many years, J.D. Nappi and his father, Fred Nappi, had thought of owning and operating a food cart. As a recent high-school graduate, being self employed was attractive to J.D, and his father encouraged the passion of entrepreneurship in his son. Yet even though neither of them knew what their business would exactly look like in the future, they maintained awareness about anyone interested in selling a food cart. In these early days, J.D and his dad shopped around at numerous different people selling their food carts, but never quite found one that they felt was suitable for their needs. In February of 2015, however, the father and son duo caught their lucky break when another local resident of the Gerton, North Carolina area put her hot dog trailer up for sale. The seller was experienced in hot dog sales and even threw in one-hundred free hot dogs with the trailer, along with some advice for the young entrepreneur. After borrowing some money from his dad, J.D. purchased this hot dog cart and was soon invited to a local community event to sell food.
The first “gig” for J.D. and his hot dog cart was called “Sale on the Trail”, a massive community yard sale that spanned along the roadside all the way from Gerton to Lake Lure, North Carolina. With so many people out shopping for unique finds and bargains, J.D. had a successful first day of business – and even generated a new lead on an opportunity. The president of the Gerton Community Center spotted his hot dog stand and thought it was a great idea for the area. After a little back-and-forth discussion, J.D. was able to secure a spot selling his hot dogs at the community center on a regular basis. With the arrangement, J.D. would be allowed to set up and operate his hot dog stand ever Saturday for no charge. For that summer and Fall, one day a week was the operating time of his food stand, yet J.D. knew that he would need to be open more often if he ever wanted to grow his business or pay back the loan he originally took out to purchase the stand. Beginning in 2016, J.D. began operating on Sundays as well as Saturdays, effectively doubling his hours of operation. In the near future, J.D. plans on being open on more than two days per week and is currently seeking other venues that he can sell at. Festivals and events in the Lake Lure area have recently contacted him in search of more food vendors for their hungry patrons. If all goes well, his hot dog stand, now called Hot Dixie Dogs, will be operating many more hours and days of the week in more location than one.
The customer base that frequents Hot Dixie dogs involves a wide range of socioeconomic and demographic profiles. Yet one common thread that most of his clients have is their objective for the day: fun. Tourist travel makes up the vast majority of customers, with commuting locals a distant second. Because Gerton North Carolina is such a small town, the local traffic is not a major factor in business. As previously mentioned, however, tourists travel between Asheville and Lake Lure to see Lake Lure, Chimney Rock, and other attractions in the area such as arts, crafts, music, and a plethora of hiking spots. The typical client also brings their family to eat at Hot Dixie Dogs as it is very convenient and time conscious to stop here instead of another restaurant. Additionally, Hot Dixie Dogs is the only place to eat at for several miles while driving between Lake Lure and Asheville, so a geographic monopoly is to our advantage.
Hot Dixie Dogs specializes in delivering delicious food in a hyper-fast, ultra-convenient, and smile-worthy environment. Americana fast food staples are served from a hot dog stand that is typically set-up at a local community center. These foods include Nathan’s all-beef premium hot dogs, various chips, various sodas and water, nachos and cheese, and chili for either hot dogs or nachos. Common condiments (ketchup, mustard, onions, and cole-slaw in the near future) are also available as hot dog toppings. Ice cream is currently in the works to be added soon in order to develop the menu and provide a dessert item for customers. These foods are prepared and delivered to the customer in a n extremely quick manner. Hot dogs are pre-cooked in boiling water, and then grilled for one minute after being ordered by a customer. This adds the grilled flavor and texture to the dog, while reducing cook time and improving the inner consistency of the hot dog. All foods are served with smiles and the intent on helping to provide customers with a good, enjoyable vacation. As a result, customer satisfaction plays an important role in the product we sell. Any mistake that results from our error will be gladly and promptly replaced with a new item, or a coupon if the original item is no longer desired.
J.D. (Joram Diamond) Nappi – Founder, CEO
Born and raised in the small town of Gerton North Carolina (2010 population of 254 people), J.D. lives with his family in a home on a scenic mountainside. With a desire to create his own business, J.D. is currently developing and expanding Hot Dixie Dogs. Although J.D. did not have any food industry experience before starting his business, he has utilized the Internet and several personal contacts in the food industry in order to build up a knowledge of the subject.
The excitement of meeting new people and delighting them with a meal in the great outdoors inspires J.D. to continue his venture. The tourist traffic has allowed him to come in contact with a wide variety of people, and even many foreign tourists who decide to visit the stunning mountains of Western North Carolina.
Austin Parker – CMO
Also a Western North Carolina native, Austin was born and raised in Asheville and currently lives a few minutes north in the town of Weaverville. Three years of management experience in the fast food industry along with over a year of management experience in the retail industry have provided Austin with a favorable background for this venture.
Austin additionally holds an Associate of Arts degree from Asheville Buncombe Technical Community College, a Bachelor of Science/Bachelor of Arts degree in Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University, and is pursuing a Master of Entrepreneurship degree from Western Carolina University. A passion for people and the desire to help others motives him in his work.