Meet David Gray – longtime Woodbridge resident and the owner of Dave’s Dogs, an area hot dog food truck.
“I was an auto mechanic for my whole life and I’ve kind of always just wanted to sell hot dogs. So I took the little bit of money I had, bought a trailer and we’ve been going ever since. It started off really bad – we really struggled hard, but I mean…it’s come a long way…It’s just a fun job. You really get to joke with people, and laugh, and dealing with people just makes it so much fun. It’s probably the hardest job I’ve ever done, but it’s definitely the most rewarding job I’ve ever had,” said Gray.
Gray started the business in June 2014, as part of his lifelong dream to run a hot dog business.
Chuckling Gray said, “They say 70 percent of all men dream of selling hot dogs.”
All of their food is made fresh daily and includes hot dogs and BBQ. One of their menu favorites is the ‘Frito Bandito’ – a hot dog with chili, shredded cheddar, jalapenos and Fritos, according to Gray.
But there’s a lot more to Dave’s Dogs than good food.
“Not long after he opened, people started trying to give him tips, and he didn’t want to take tips…so we contacted the [Prince William County Animal] Shelter, and asked if they would enter into a partnership with us, where we would cover the adoption fees for hard to adopt animals. We were specifically interested in senior animals, special needs animals – animals that may not otherwise be able to find homes,” said Gray’s sister, Karen Gray Edwards.
Prior to working with the animal shelter, Dave’s Dogs was donating tip money to the Prince William Humane Society, according to Edwards.
According to Edwards, in the past eight months they’ve been able to donate $5,500 to the shelter, and help 48 animals find homes. Their efforts have been so successful that Dave’s Dogs is now able to pay for the spay and neuter costs for the pets, in addition to the adoption fees, said Edwards.
Edwards said they try and stay connected to the animals they help, and post about pets they’re sponsoring on the Dave’s Dogs Facebook page.
“With every animal that’s adopted, that’s a Dave’s ‘dog’ – whether it’s a cat or a dog – we give them a coupon to come and bring their animal. So we’ve been able to meet a lot of the animals we’ve helped, and that just feels really good,” said Edwards.
And according to Edwards, Gray also gives money to local churches to buy propane heaters for the county’s homeless.
“It’s just Dave. It’s who he is,” said Edwards.
There have been challenges too…
Right now it’s difficult to tell where Dave’s Dogs will be every day. And they have to announce their location daily on Facebook.
Why is that?
An old Prince William County ordinance on the books required food trucks and related businesses to move their location every 90 minutes, making it hard for Dave’s Dogs to operate. According to Gray, he had a contract with the Lowe’s in Woodbridge that allowed Dave’s Dogs to conduct business on their parking lot, which was terminated after the County cited the food truck for a zoning violation for being stationary.
To save his business, Gray spoke during Citizen’s Time at the December 15 Prince William County Board of Supervisors meeting. After hearing what Gray had to say about the antiquated ordinance, the board lifted the restriction.
Gray said he was very appreciative that the Board of Supervisors stepped in to help him save his business, and were willing to work on changing the ordinance. He is currently working with Lowe’s to reinstate his contract and resume business there.
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