FARMINGDALE — Dana Purington found an interesting way to deal with the dog days of summer.

The 15-year-old Gardiner Area High School incoming sophomore is running a hot dog stand in Farmingdale to raise money for future business ventures, he said in between throwing more beef franks into hot oil.

Purington, of Gardiner, set up Dana’s Dogz across from the J&S Oil gas station on the side of Maine Avenue, underneath a sign advertising his father’s roofing business.

The young entrepreneur worked at a chicken farm last summer, but they didn’t need him this year. He said his father helped him buy the professional hot dog cart after seeing it listed for sale on Facebook. It cost $2,500, and once he pays his dad back, the rest of the money, after expenses, will be his.

“My dad always talked about having a hot dog stand, so I did this,” he said. “I want to buy an apartment building or make my own trailer park.”

For one hot dog, Purington charges $1.75 and a soda is a dollar. He’s offering his customers a meal for $5 that includes two hot dogs, a soda and a bag of chips. It’s been a popular choice among people who’ve visited the stand since it arrived on Maine Avenue July 3.

He has business cards with a dancing hot dog — with a hat, cane and shoes — he found online. There are phone numbers, an email address and the slogan “The dogz kids love to bite.” He’s been seen selling the all-American food at events like Gardiner River Fest and plans to do more events throughout the summer.

“I definitely think I want to grow the business,” he said.

John Michaud, of Pittston, was driving around lunch time, saw the flag waving and the rainbow-colored umbrella and thought it’d be a quick and easy lunch. He got a hot dog and soda for $2.75 and said he was happy to support the young business owner.

“It’s really cool, absolutely,” said Michaud, who has a 15- and 16-year-old. “I’m pretty impressed.”

Purington said he plans to be at his location from about 10-10:30 a.m. until around 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday, unless he is working an event. He has beef franks and is planning to add variety, including turkey dogs, in the coming weeks, if that’s what people want.

Patty Smith, of Augusta, said a friend of a friend of a friend sent a link on Facebook because they thought it was refreshing to see a teenager doing something that will help them in the future.

“I stopped with my son and got a couple of dogs and two drinks, and we sat on the bench and enjoyed our lunch,” Smith said. “It’s another reminder that there are still good kids out there who aren’t glued to their phones texting and snapping or whatever they do.”

In addition to the hot dog cart, which has several areas to cook the dogs, warm buns and store condiments like ketchup, mustard, relish and sauerkraut, there is a large cooler for sodas and bottled water and two big picnic benches and canopies for people who want to leisurely enjoy their dogs.

There have been big groups of people stopping by but sometimes it gets pretty boring, Purington said. He listens to music or sits and reads, or he updates the Dana’s Dogz Facebook page and takes some down time to research local festivals and fairs where he could sell his hot dogs.

Old Hallowell Day is this weekend just up Maine Avenue, but Purington isn’t sure if he’ll move his cart — which goes to his father’s each night — up river.

“You have to deal with the town office and certain events can be expensive,” he said. “But I’m not going to just stay here all summer.”

To operate this stand, Purington’s father, also named Dana, applied for a transient vendor’s license with the town of Farmingdale. The license is good for 90 days and cost $25, plus $10 for each employee. He can renew it after it expires, and he said he’d be interested in at least sometimes selling hot dogs during the school year.

As of Monday afternoon, the Dana’s Dogz Facebook page had 34 followers and counting. His mother, Penny McKinney, helps manage the social media page, which has comments from family members and customers wishing Purington well in his venture.

“I stopped and got good service and a good hot dog from a young man who (will) do well in life because he is not afraid of hard work,” said Mike Gove, of Gardiner, on Facebook.

McKinney owns her own pet grooming business, and Dana’s dad has a construction company. McKinney said both parents told their son he wouldn’t get rich by working for someone else. A new state law was enacted Monday that allows teens as young as 14 to work in movie theaters, bowling alleys, permanent amusement parks and certain places in bakeries and hotels.

“There is no better preparation for the responsibilities of adulthood than working when you are a teenager,” Gov. Paul LePage said in a press release from the Maine Department of Labor. “There is more we can do, so we must continue to help young people gain the experience, skills, and knowledge about their own career interests that can only come from holding a job.”

While her sons want to continue working for themselves, McKinney said showing responsibility by working for somebody else isn’t a bad thing because it’s important for teenagers to take advantage of any opportunity to get ahead financially.

“Both (Dana and his brother) like to pick business owners’ brains and find out what works and what doesn’t,” she said. “I was insistent on them not touching the money they made last summer until they found a way to invest it (to make more).”

Purington and his identical twin brother, Devyn, are no strangers to being in the community. While in eighth grade, the pair started the Mud in Your Face not-for-profit group to raise money for the Gardiner Regional Middle School’s athletic department.

While a lot of his classmates are spending the summer inside playing video games or going to camp or playing sports, Purington decided he wanted to run a business. He said his brother, who juggles and makes balloon animals, sometimes helps, and he’s had friends volunteer, too.

Purington has appreciated the help he’s been getting from family, friends and neighbors. He said a neighbor who’s a chef taught him how to use the equipment, and his dad helps him buy the food and takes the cart back home.

“I’ll pay him back later,” he joked.

One hot dog at a time.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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