When the 2019 edition of the Edmonton Folk Music Festival wrapped up on Sunday, it also marked the end of an era as a local entrepreneur served his last hotdog after turning the Fat Franks hotdog stand into an Edmonton institution.
The music festival seems to have been a perfect final hurrah for Lorne Merrick, the founder of Fat Franks, who told Global News on Monday that he is sad to now call himself an ex-owner after selling the business.
“The people that are part of the festivals we’ll miss the most,” he said.
“ now I can just come and be a patron.”
Merrick said he put his business, which includes 19 food trucks, a “summer shack” on Whyte Avenue and a restaurant in Capilano,” up for sale last February after his wife received a “poor diagnosis of cancer.” But he said part of his motivation to sell was also because of a realization there’s “more adventures to be had out there.”
“I’ve done it for 25 years and there’s new things to be done,” he said. “My wife and I wanted to primarily work in the summers and then take the the winters off, but then of course it got busier and busier and we never ended up doing that in the long run.”
Merrick said he has sold his business to two young entrepreneurs for a number close to $500,000. He said he believes they will grow the company and focus more on restaurants than the food truck sphere, an area of business he believes he helped blaze a trail for in the city.
“We changed the rules and regulations in the City of Edmonton for street vending because they didn’t even have it when we started here,” Merrick said. “It was wonderful.
“Things have changed in the last 25 years. I think it’s a little bit more difficult now to do business than it was back then. I think it’s getting a little bit more regulated.”
Merrick said he wanted to extend a thank you to Edmontonians who have supported Fat Franks for the last quarter-century and that his customers shouldn’t be concerned by the sale.
“It’s not disappearing — Fat Franks is still going to be around,” he said. “It’s just changing direction a little bit and I’m moving on.
“It’s been… a wonderful voyage,” he added.
“I leave with a sad heart but I know it will continue on.”
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