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Hot dog! Business venture helps teen learn value of a dollar

July 23, 2013

Megan Isherwood's customer service skills have come a long way since the then-12-year-old began working at her father Mike's hot dog stand two summers ago. Today, they're so well-developed that she's earning gratuities in abstentia.

"Because of her youth, Megan was understandably unpolished at first when it came to interacting with customers," said Mike, owner of M&M Hot Dogs. "But she quickly learned good customer service skills, and now we have regular customers who leave her tips even when she's not working."

Mike, a truck driver during the week, operates M&M Hot Dogs on weekends from early April to mid-November. He opened the stand on land purchased by his brother-in-law, Jake Wood, to teach Megan the value of money.

"I wanted Megan to know there isn't a tree in our backyard that prints money," Mike said. "She's learned how hard it is to sell $20 worth of food, and now she also knows how business works. When Megan takes an economics course in high school she'll know about insurance, fees, licenses and codes."

Megan also has drawn another benefit from the business.

"Working at the hot dog stand has brought me closer to my dad," said the soon-to-be sophomore at Divine Savior Holy Angels High School in Milwaukee. "It's been a great bonding experience."

Located near the Milwaukee County Zoo at 105th Street and Bluemound Road, M&M Hot Dogs serves Johnsville bratwursts, Jumbo Flamin' Hot Polish Sausage, and a frankfurter that Mike considers the "Cadillac of hot dogs."

"I became familiar with Vienna Beef when I worked in Chicago," he said. "It's an institution there, and I knew if I ever bought a hot dog stand, I'd want to sell that brand.

"We prepare it the authentic way, learned when I attended a two-day course at Vienna Beef's Hot Dog University. We get a lot of customers from the Chicago area, and they're Vienna Beef connoisseurs. They know that there are seven different items that go on their hot dogs. When they see me top a hot dog off with celery salt, they know they're getting the real thing."

To suggest a business for this spotlight, email news@cninow.com.

JUST THE FACTS

BUSINESS: M&M Hot Dogs

ADDRESS: 10506 W. Bluemound Road

PHONE: (262) 993-0220

OWNER: Mike Isherwood

INCORPORATED: 2011

TYPE OF BUSINESS: hot dog stand

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