Jess Cady-Giguere, Owner of Wieners

What is your job title?
Hot dog girl?!

How did you end up selling hot dogs?
My husband originally started the business when he was in college. When we ended up getting together, the cart wasn’t being used so I asked to start using it. It’s my tenth season.

Do you like hot dogs?
I do. Recently, I’ve become a vegetarian after getting food poisoning—not because of the hot dog cart!—so I’ve been more open to serving vegetarian options. But I will go back to eating hot dogs. They are delicious.

How did you end up on the corner of Dana and Commercial Streets?
This is where my husband started and then I just ended up loving it, too. It’s a popular corner. Once you’ve established yourself, it’s an understanding that this is Wieners’s corner now.

But there are other hot dog sellers. What’s the relationship between you guys like?
We all get along. Another vendor sets up nearby, but there’s an understanding that these are our spots. We don’t try each other’s food, because we’re both working when we’re selling! I’ve never had, really, any run-ins.

Your entire business is contained within this little, tiny space. What’s that like?
I have to get very creative with my setup. And obviously I can’t stock everything that everybody wants me to have, but I think I do a good job. My motto is that the condiments make the hot dog, so I always make sure that I have several topping options.

What’s it like to be doing this in a place with wild weather?
Weather’s definitely a big part of it. I am often called “the fair-weather cook” because I don’t come out when it rains. But I’ve learned that nobody walks on the streets and wants to eat outside then. When it’s really hot, I do a lot of beverage sales versus food. They want a quick drink and then to get back into the AC!

Tell me about the yellow umbrella.
It’s how you know that I’m here. So fishermen will pull in on their boats, or office workers will look out their windows to see if the yellow umbrella is out.

What’s the hardest part?
The breakdown and the restocking and the cleaning. That’s the work people don’t see. It’s fun sitting outside all day, people-watching and serving food, but I’ve created my schedule so I know when I have to do everything, because I have a little one at home.

Were you out here making hot dogs when you were pregnant?
Yes. And I ate a lot of hot dogs that summer! It was one of my cravings.

What is your husband’s involvement with the food cart now?
He loves that I’ve made it successful. He’s in insurance. He comes down and gets his lunch here when he can.

Do you primarily make red hot dogs?
Yes. Tourists like to try them, because it’s a Maine thing, but a lot of them are also frightened when they see the color!

Why are they red?
I don’t know! I always tell people they want them to look like lobsters or something!

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