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Food vendor hopes to make splash on Lake Wateree

Posted: September 1, 2011 4:59 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Michael Ulmer/C-I

Camden native Alan Masseaubeau has been grilling up and selling hot dogs on his boat on Lake Wateree the past two weeks. He plans to sell other items, including sodas, bottled water, nachos, sub sandwiches and ice cream during the summer months between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

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The idea of testing the waters now has new meaning with the opening of Camden native Alan Massebeau’s hot dog business on Lake Wateree. For five years, Massebeau sold hot dogs and various other snacks from a boat on the waters of Sandy Island, but he has returned to his hometown in hopes of establishing a similar operation on Lake Wateree

Despite setting up shop only two weeks ago, Massebeau is optimistic about the business’ potential success, but said it’s too early to gauge whether it will be a hit.

“We’re just really getting started here so it’s hard to tell how things will go,” Massebeau said. “It’s going to be a weekend thing and it will go throughout the boating season which usually lasts from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I’ll have a better grip on it once I get a full season under my belt.”

The idea for the business originated from a night out at the bar with one of his friends.

“We were sitting around drinking one day and thought that since we were always out on the water, why not do some work and make a little money,” he said.

Massebeau’s parents own two shops in Camden, Triangle Hardware and Triangle Subs, which has helped alleviate some of the problems he faced while operating in the Lowcountry.

“Down at Sandy Island, we had to have a base station to go back to every day to clean up” he explained. “Right here, we use just use the shops. Everything comes back here to get cleaned up and put away. Down there, we had to rent a place and renovate it to get it ready. We put $10,000 in it and three weeks later we were in business.”

Some of the expenses included a 24-foot pontoon boat that has now been decorated with flags and ads for the business, a $2,000 hot dog cart, and hats and T-shirts for local supporters.

After living down at Sandy Island for 15 years, Massebeau decided to make the trip back home a few years ago.

“A little lagoon was built down there with a beachhead and a lot of people go there and party and hang out. That’s where we always went, but I’ve been living here in Camden and driving down there every weekend for the past few years. Imagine the money that I’ve spent on gas. Now my parents are getting older and they’re getting ready to slow down so I was in a position to come back and give them a hand,” Massebeau said.

He said the business is also certified by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control, a process that was made easier with the move to Lake Wateree.

“It was more of a headache before because we were starting from scratch. They had no idea how to classify us since they had never come across something like this before. Getting the process done over here was real easy because the majority of the work, I already had done down there five years ago,” he said.

Massebeau said all the hot dogs are cooked on the boat and he also plans to offer other items like sodas, bottled water, nachos, sub sandwiches and ice cream.

“We want to give people some variety,” Massebeau said. “We’ve got something more to offer than just a hot dog and a bag of chips.”

Massebeau also has a Facebook page set up to help promote the business and will soon be designing new hats and T-shirts to be sold as well.

“It doesn’t cost me that much to run. It’s more time consuming than anything else. As far as the actual business goes, it’s hard to say how successful it will be, but I figure it’s worth a shot.”

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