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Business

Des Moines Co. teen starts his own business

Bo Haubrich, a 14-year-old entrepreneur, started a mobile food stand where he sells nachos, hot dogs and snow cones.

BURLINGTON, Iowa — A Burlington-area teen has been serving up some cheesy goodness this summer at the Jefferson Street Farmers Market.

Bo Haubrich is 14 years old and a new business owner. He started his mobile food stand “Updog” where he sells nachos, hot dogs and snow cones. The nachos and hot dogs have chili cheese options too.

“Nachos because they’re really good and I like them and my mom likes them,” Bo said. “Hot dogs because they’re easy and you can make them real quick and serve them. And then snow cones little kids like them and I pretty much always sell them no matter what.”

His favorite to make is nachos, but his favorite to eat is a blue raspberry lemonade snow cone.

He and his parents started working on the idea last winter. His parents own storage units in Danville and they were thinking of having a concession stand out there, but figured a mobile unit would be better.

“He’s been working odd jobs and doing different things over the years,” his father, Scott said. “He wanted to figure out a way that he could work for himself.”

Of course, Bo wanted to have some money to pay for his new car, too.

“Gas is really expensive, and if anything goes wrong like changing the oil or tires,” he said.

Scott said he’s proud of his son’s hard work and added that Bo is learning lifelong lessons in the process.

“Bo’s been involved from every aspect of the business, from getting a state permit, from getting a county permit, from the city permits, to the inspections, to paying monthly sales tax, doing the books, figuring out how to take credit cards, Scott said. “It’s a whole business no matter how small you start off.”

The hardest part, Bo thinks, is setting up and taking down the food stand. He’s also had to learn to be patient and wait for customers. The farmers market may start at 4:30, but business doesn’t really pick up until closer to dinnertime.

People will comment on his young age or inevitably ask “What’s up dog?” Bo said many of his customers think it’s cool how young he is or say they’re proud of his ambition. He likes getting to interact with the customers and meet new people.

Being a 14-year-old business owner has no limits for him.

“I’d assume it’s the same as being one when you’re older, but I don’t really know,” Bo said.

“I think that’s where a lot of young people need to realize they can succeed, they can do what their dream is,” Scott said.

That’s what Bo hopes he can teach other kids.

“I really hope it does (inspire others) because you don’t see a lot of youth or people my age doing it a lot,” Bo said. “Definitely don’t be afraid to ask for help because you cannot do it alone.”

A career in the food business might not be in his future. Bo wants to be a lawyer, but for now, he has plans to expand “Updog” to include hamburgers and brats at the upcoming Beckman Heritage Farm Fall Market, and maybe one day he and his parents will buy a food truck.

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