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New hot dog stand a change for Shelton man

Shelton-Mason County Journal of Shelton, Washington

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Deano's Dog House owner relies on faith, family

Before the lunch hour even starts, hot dog enthusiasts gather outside Deano's Dog House.

The little red-and-white stand at 2333 Olympic Highway N. seems unassuming, but people wait their turn to walk away with a coveted hot dog, nachos or pretzel made by owner Deano Petersen.

The stand opened less than two weeks ago, but already the staff — Deano, wife Diana and volunteer Lonnie Lyerla — is swamped with orders throughout most of the day.

As Lyerla takes orders at the walk-up window, Petersen prepares each meal, while his wife continually restocks ingredients and condiments. As soon as the trio gets caught up on orders, a new rush arrives. Petersen just laughs, and waves to greet some of the stand's regulars.

"It's been consistent this whole time," Petersen said. "It's been really, really good."

It all started with Steve Harvey.

Petersen and his wife attend services at Church of the Nazarene in Shelton. Four months ago, Josiah Jones, pastor for the church, showed a video during the service called "Jump." In the video, Harvey, the host of the television show "Family Feud," talks to the audience candidly about using their gift as a metaphorical parachute that will help them soar after they take a risk on a new career or lifestyle.

"The only way for you to soar is you got to jump," Harvey says in the video. "You got to take that gift that is packed away on your back, you got to jump off that cliff and pull that cord. That gift opens up and provides the soar."

Petersen said the video motivated him to jump into the next stage in his life.

"It just lifted me up and just inspired me," he said. "God is so good."

Petersen spent two months preparing the hot dog stand, and jumped into opening May 16.

"We may not have exactly been ready for this, but we jumped," Diana said.

Petersen has never worked in the food industry. He and his wife, who have been married for nearly 33 years, moved to Shelton more than 20 years ago to be close to Diana's parents.

Immediately, the couple felt at home. Petersen opened Mason County Gutters with a friend, and all four of the couple's children attended Shelton High School.

However, after working in the gutter business for two decades, Petersen said he didn't feel comfortable climbing ladders anymore. He began looking for a new career.

"He was joking around with his brothers, talking about something he could do," Diana said. "Someone said something about hot dogs.... We didn't really think it would take off like this."

On Monday morning, stacks of sodas, buns and chips filled a back room before the stand opened for business.

"All of this will be gone today," Diana said, gesturing to the towering stacks of food. "I'll have to go on a store run this afternoon."

The couple said that when they first began renovating the stand, they hoped to make enough money each month to pay for rent and expenses.

However, they're currently making enough profit each day to cover rent for a month.

"We have regulars already and we've been open seven days," Petersen said. "Some, two, three times a day."

Petersen attributes his success to the tight-knit Shelton community, giving shoutouts to numerous businesses that have helped the hot dog stand prosper.

"We want to keep it community-based," Petersen said. "The support has been just awesome."

In addition to local businesses, Petersen said he's relied on family and friends to help out whenever they can.

All volunteers have their food handler cards just in case they need it, he added.

"We want to do everything right," he said.

The couple says they're already excited to start giving back to the community that has supported them.

They have plans to donate to local charities through sales during summer festivals, and want to reward good grades for local students by donating a free meal for high achievers.

Petersen said the couple also finds strength in their faith.

"We pray every morning before we open," he said. "God has been so good, just so awesome."

The owners have dealt with a steep learning curve since opening. In addition to trying to figure out how much food to order each day, Petersen said the biggest thing was trying to figure out how much of what people will eat.

"Someone told us, You have to have vegan, you have to have vegan,' so we did," Diana said.

"And we've had maybe two out of 1,000 people order it," Petersen chimed in.

"Right, and you can't boil vegan dogs," Diana said. "They're like oatmeal; they fall apart. So we're like, 'Oops,' now we got to figure that out."

Petersen said the business will evolve as it grows. If demand keeps up, the couple plans to begin hiring employees, bring Lyerla on as a paid employee and expand to neighboring towns.

For now, the couple plans to stick with a basic menu — about five types of dogs, a few signature dogs, nachos and pretzels — until they find their footing.

They plan to have a grand opening celebration for the stand June 4 during Forest Festival, complete with an outdoor barbecue.

The stand is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.

Copyright 2016 Shelton-Mason County Journal, Shelton, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: May 26, 2016

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