DU: What was the muse behind J-Dawgs?
J Edwards: I was an Asian studies major and nothing was working out. Nothing. That’s when I noticed the abandoned shack on 900 East and decided to sell everything of value, drop out of school and start a hot dog stand.
Justin Stubbs: I was roommates when J first got started on J-Dawgs. I thought he was completely crazy. Three years down the road I was working for corporate America and was totally unhappy. That’s when J contacted me and hired me on.
J: I just wanted to make life easier for him — plus, he’s the man.
Justin: I work for cheap.
DU: Did your parents think you were crazy, J?
J: Yes, yes they did. They think differently than me — more conservative and analytical. I am neither. But if you put yourself in their shoes, here I was a junior dropping out of college to start a hot dog stand. I think it’s easy to see where they’re coming from.
DU: Word on the street is you’re expanding to Orem. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
J: Yes, we are expanding and I think of it this way: The shack is the tabernacle and the Orem store is the Conference Center. It’s going to be bigger, brighter, higher ceilings but it can’t replace the shack. But really the whole thing will be more convenient. It will be right off I-15, closer to UVU, where there’s a high demand, and will be equipped with better parking.
DU: How have you been able to spread the word so well? Who does your advertising?
J: The food.
DU: Where do you see yourselves in five to 10 years?
Justin: North Shore of Hawaii with a J-Dawg in my hand.
J: Yep. But as far as J-Dawgs goes, we both see it expanding without limits necessarily. Our only limit is that we refuse to sell out. I will not let this enterprise spread itself too thin to the point that customer service and food quality suffers. That’s just not right.
DU: So what’s it like for the wives of the J-Dawgs owners?
Justin: Uh-oh. Well, I think they love us but I don’t think they love our schedules.
J: I don’t think people understand how hard this is. If you don’t go to work, you don’t make money. This is a hard but very fulfilling business. I love it. I love that we make people happy and they pay us for it.
Justin: The kids love it. My 6 year old thinks I’m the coolest dad in the world.
DU: What are your ultimate dream jobs?
Justin: A high school photography teacher.
J: I want to teach kids somewhere, maybe China, how they can start their own businesses. I just want to serve. Really, I’m not that into money. I’m not. I just really like feeling like I can serve others.
The Orem J-Dawgs is scheduled to open this December.