Standing on Their Own
"We're both pretty independent. we never enjoyed punching the time clock or answering to other people," says Chris Lycan, a Woody's Hot Dogs franchisee. Since 2001, Chris, 40, and husband David, 41, haven't had to do either. That's how long they've been operating their hot dog kiosk at the Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"We'd been thinking about [starting a business] for years," says Chris, a former grocery merchandiser. "We just didn't know for sure what to do." A look through the want ads brought Woody's to their attention. Says Chris, "I thought it sounded like fun."
Weather permitting, the Lycans' kiosk is open every day in front of Lowe's. Because David still has a full-time job, Chris handles most of the day-to-day operations herself, leaving the house around 8:30 a.m. to head to her off-site commercial kitchen, where she sets up for the day. About an hour later, it's off to the kiosk to serve hot dogs, Polish sausages, nachos, pretzels, chips and sodas until dark. After closing, it's back to the commercial kitchen to clean up.
Being in such a high-traffic area provides the Lycans with plenty of repeat business. "We get several customers every day who drive up, buy a hot dog and drive away without even going in the store," Chris says. "We know many of our customers by name because people like contractors come to Lowe's every day, and a lot of them stop by the stand." Building a loyal client base and having their own business has been a joyful experience for the Lycans. "If it was someone else's business, I don't think I'd enjoy it as much," Chris says. But when it's yours, you take pride in it."