Hellacious Hot Dogs

Sep 16th, 2009 | By | Category: Vendors

POLK COUNTY (Bay News 9) — Jim Belcher grew up in a funeral home, but he didn’t want to follow that path as an adult.

Even so, he has still found a way to use death to make his living. Several days a week, Belcher sets up his Hot Dog stand near the corner of Kathleen and Spivey roads in north Lakeland.

“I get some strange looks,” he said. “Some people laugh. Some people can’t believe what they see.”

Before he started his business, Belcher worked for 25 years as an engineer. A few years back, though, he decided to do something different, which was when he came up with his new business plan.

Part of his plan entailed buying a black Cadillac hearse from his brother. The hearse has plenty of room in the back, which is where Belcher stores his cooler and his equipment.

Customers at his stand can choose from “body bags of chips,” “cold soda in the morgue” and “stiffs.”

Belcher’s stand isn’t all about the gimmick. He’s got a steady customer base made up of people like Doc Stepul.

“Curiosity killed the cat,” he said. “You know, the hearse, naturally and then you have the hot dog, and, well, I’m a repeat customer.”

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