CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — For entrepreneurs outside the Democratic National Convention, the easy part may be the hours of smoking meat, screen-printing T-shirts or pumping out pedicab rides.
Those small business owners have needed a balance of patience and scrappiness to negotiate a series of physical and bureaucratic barriers for a share of the $200 million visitors are expected to spend this week in Charlotte. But the hustle pays off when they’re able to make a big score, such as selling $10,000 in barbecue sandwiches in one day.
“I never did as good as we did Monday. Everything came together just right,” said Dan Huntley, who sold barbecue out of his “Dan the Pig Man” food truck.
Working the convention was a calculated risk for Huntley, who went full time into the catering and food truck business in 2009, when he was laid off from his job for 27 years as a reporter for The Charlotte Observer. He spent about $20,000 this year on upgrades to his truck, in no small part to prepare for the convention. It rained on the street party Charlotte threw to welcome the convention late in the afternoon Monday, just as Huntley sold his last sandwich.
“It’s a crap shoot in the food business. I
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