Good Boy Hotdogs is a Backyard Business
When Cathy and Anthony Steffen moved from Kentucky to North Carolina in 2013, they never imagined they’d soon be welcoming carloads of complete strangers to the backyard of their new home. But that’s exactly what the couple now does every Tuesday through Saturday from March until September, as they run Good Boy Hotdogs on the side of 74/76 in Delco.
After vacationing in the Cape Fear region for years, Cathy and her husband, Anthony, knew they wanted to relocate to the area permanently after their children moved out. One day while planning the move, Cathy stumbled across a show on television highlighting the success of hot dog businesses across the United States, and she was immediately engrossed.
“I was just amazed at the love people seem to share for such an American food. There’s something about a hot dog that brings people and families together,” says Cathy. “After watching the show, something really burned in me to do something like that. When I began telling people that I was going to open a hot dog business in North Carolina, they thought I was nuts.”
Cathy knew her husband, a contractor by trade, would have no trouble finding work as soon as they moved to the East Coast. But although Cathy’s background was in management and the hospitality industry, she knew she didn’t want to work in an office any longer. She wanted to open her hot dog stand.
“So one day shortly after we moved in, I was sitting out on the porch pondering how the business was going to come about. I noticed this little outbuilding that we have in our backyard, and for some reason, it caught my attention. I’m a person that has a lot of faith, and as I looked at it, all of a sudden there was a voice telling me ‘there’s your business.’”
When Anthony returned home from work that evening, Cathy told him what she had heard and wanted to do. Instead of telling her she was crazy, he surprised her by taking a look at the property and then saying he believed it would be possible to transform their backyard into a drive-through. After checking to see what would be required to start a business with the county and state, the couple was shocked to discover that their property was already commercially zoned.
“It’s amazing how it all seemed to just work out so well, right there in our backyard. Our business is 200 feet from our house. That’s how I know that the Lord was in this, because only he could think of something like that!” says Cathy.
Cathy says she chose the name “Good Boy” for her hot dog stand in homage to Anthony and an invention he created years earlier. Called the ‘Perfect Pet Petter,’ his machine had a mechanical arm that would sense a pet’s presence and begin stroking it. The invention would also activate a recorded voice (preferably of its owner), which would speak to the pet. When Anthony demonstrated his invention, he used the phrase “good boy” on his voice recording. Anthony appeared on multiple reality television shows to demonstrate his product, including American Inventor and True TV.
“Unfortunately, the Perfect Pet Petter wasn’t very readily accepted,” chuckles Cathy. “Perhaps it was just ahead of its time!”
In June of 2013 Good Boy Hotdogs opened for business, serving steamed all-beef hot dogs with all the fixings and Carolina-style barbeque pulled pork. The stand is open seasonally and is drive-through only. Cathy and Anthony are the sole operators, a setup that suits them just fine as it provides a great way for the Steffens to get to know their customers.
“We get all kinds of people stopping by here, with almost 20,000 cars passing each day. We get travelers, vacationers, business people, and of course the locals,” says Cathy. “We have a great repeat customer base. I know my customers by name, and I know what they like.”
Business continues to grow for Good Boy Hotdogs, which is now starting its fifth season of operation. Cathy says she loves owning a local business, and she is grateful and astonished at how everything has unfolded.
“We’re just in awe of what’s happened in the little time we’ve been here. We hope we’re an inspiration for others to become entrepreneurs and start their own business,” says Cathy. “A lot of time all you need is just a little step of faith, and that’s exactly what all of this has been. I believe the Lord has shown himself, and his hand has been all over this business. I mean, how many people can say they have a business in their backyard? It’s amazing.”
Want to visit?
Good Boy Hotdogs
25985 Andrew Jackson Hwy E
Delco, North Carolina 28436