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No need to go to the ball park to get a great hot dog, coming soon to the Exchange at Gwinnett will be some loaded hot dogs worthy of Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.
Joia Evans and her husband and business partner, Torrence, are franchisee co-owners of the upcoming The Original Hot Dog Factory at the Exchange at Gwinnett, at 2925 Buford Dr., in Buford. They are also working on opening two other locations in the greater Atlanta area.
“I am thrilled and over the moon,” Evans said during a phone interview with What Now Atlanta on Tuesday. “I’m ready to open and get started.”
The Original Hot Dog Factory is known for its 100 percent all beef dogs with all the fixings as well as turkey, chicken, veggie and gluten free options.
On the menu, is basically “whatever you can dream of,” Evans joked. From the surf and turf dog with crab meat to a breakfast dog, anything goes. Evans’ favorites are the LA dog with chili cheese fries and the taco dog with jalapeños and tortilla chips. Her son’s favorite is the Hawaiian dog with grilled onions and pineapple.
“Everybody has a favorite and they’re all different because there is so much variety,” she said.
Her background is in finance, which she had been doing for 15 years before having twins and going on maternity leave early last year.
“It was the very beginning of the madness… and the beginning of decision time,” for herself, she said. “I was able to spend time with family and then decide if I wanted to return (to finance) and I did not.”
She’s always been interested in owning her own business, but the opportunity never presented itself and the timing just never felt quite right, she said.
“I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit,” she said. “I’ve always felt like I would have my own business at some point… I’m a numbers person, so it needed to make sense.”
So, while on her six-month maternity leave last year, she started researching and looking for business opportunities. The couple knew they wanted franchise store because the work has been done, the product and process have been successful, and they wanted it to be as efficient as possible. They wanted name recognition and for the brand to feel comfortable to them. The price point for the product had to be reasonable as well, she added.
“It felt like home, it felt comfortable,” Evans said.
When she saw the franchise options for The Original Hot Dog Factory, she recognized the name and brand and was immediately interested.
They reached out and started discussions with the company. They were invited to a “discovery day,” where they spoke with other franchisees, asked about challenges, and tasted the food.
“I’ve never been crazy about hot dogs, but these are breathtakingly good,” Evans said. “It’s just really, really good food.”
Torrence, who is by trade an electrician, loved everything as well. The couple was on board for the new venture.
“We were in and we signed on for three locations,” Evans said.
Since signing on, they’ve visited other locations to try as much on the menu as they could. Everything is great, she said, including the sides and desserts.
The Exchange at Gwinnett was first location they nailed down. They had already been looking in the vicinity for the right space when they learned of the new construction development. The property offers more than 465,000 square feet of retail and restaurants, professional office space, and comfortable hotel suites as well as luxury residential flats to call home.
It’s a mixed-use concept, Evans explained, almost like an outdoor mall where people can live, work, eat, and spend time. This type of property has proven popular elsewhere, she added, and The Original Hot Dog Factory will fit right in, so she’s confident it’s going to be a big hit in Gwinnett.
“It’s the perfect concept… and this is the perfect location,” she said.
The equipment is already ready to go for the new location and staffing is tentatively worked out. She will be there full-time and her son, Rashad Evans, 15, will join for his first job. He’s excited, she said. It’s definitely a fun and exciting venture for the family. Their other two locations are still up in the air, but they are working on both and the goal is to have all three open within 12 months. Evans is hoping the Exchange at Gwinnett location will be open by late third quarter of the year.