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Hot Dog Entrepreneur Grills Way Out of Downturn

Lydia Gray may be Towson's only hot dog vendor with a master's degree.

Everyone wants a corner office.

Lydia Gray's happens to be at the corner of York Road and Pennsylvania Avenue. Look for her desk—it's the one with the bag of buns on top and a cooler full of sodas next to it, topped by a bright blue and yellow umbrella.

The White Marsh resident set up shop in Towson last week as owner of Hot Dog It, the newest downtown hot dog cart. But Gray may be the only owner with a master's degree.

Needless to say, this wasn't where Gray thought she would be at 28.

See Gray to our video feature last week.

Until July 8, she ran public relations for a Washington credit union, which she declined to name. Then, in a cost-cutting move, it tried to demote her. Gray opted to leave.

"I figured if I went somewhere else, they were going to ask" about the demotion, she said.

Fortunately, Gray had a plan B. She turned to experience gained while catering on the side.

Gray did some research, got a permit and purchased a hot dog cart on Craigslist for $2,000. She decided to go where the seller used to: outside Towson Commons.

"I decided I wanted to start small and I want to open a cafe someday," she said.

Business has been steadily picking up in her first few days, and Gray said she will add turkey and veggie dogs to her menu this week. And for now, she seems quite content working outside, making her own hours and serving Towson's hungry workforce.

"I actually enjoy it," she said. "I don't see myself going back to corporate America."

albert Smith July 19, 2011 at 08:57 PM
Hey Lydia I always knew that in you God found favor. Do your thing girl and dont look back you make me proud to be your Mom.
Lydia Gray July 19, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Thank you for all of the beautiful comments. Thank you Tyler for the wonderful article, it truly touched my heart and spirit! I hope you enjoy Veggie Dog wednesdays! --Lydia
Robert Estes July 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM
Hey Boo, I knew your drive and fortitude would get you out of the starting block to success. You know im proud of you. God is good. Continue to be prayerful, compassionate, watchful and dont forget to give back. I love you and see you soon. DAD
Gi-Gi July 20, 2011 at 12:23 PM
My coworker and I met you the othe day after seeing your video on the Patch. You have a very warm and kind spirit. I wish you nothing but success in your newest endeavor. Stay encouraged!
Tyler Waldman July 22, 2011 at 04:11 AM
Some of our interview with Lydia last week was used in this video from our friends at the Huffington Post, I just found out: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/21/debt-ceiling-negotiations-video_n_905936.html?ref=tw

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