We came across Dante Colbert, 40, while driving near North Avenue and Leclaire. He was standing outside of Starbucks but he wasn’t an employee. He was selling a range of items displayed on a table. He’s the owner of the “Boy you got everything” store.
On his inventory
I’ve got Donuts, granola bars, cookies, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, hot dogs, polishes, tacos, steak burgers, sloppy Joe sandwiches, and donuts and cookies. I have a microwave and this is my burner and generator that keeps everything powered up. I started this in June.
On what made him get into vending
Long story short, I’ve had a lot of medical issues the last couple of years. Two kidney transplants, I lost my eye, and just a bunch of stuff. So the last 10 years, I’ve been pretty much for a lack of a better word f– up. The last kidney transplant I had, my brother gave it to me. The first one was from a donor and it went bad so my brother gave me one two years ago. This is the first year I’m not attached to any machines and I don’t have to go to any clinics. I’m still not 100% to go back to work yet so I do this.
I originally started selling ice cream off my bike with a deep freezer inside of my cooler connected to a generator. When the seasons changed, I stopped selling ice cream and switched over to the hot stuff like coffee and tea. I just started the hot stuff last week.
On the foot traffic and the business side of things
On a slow day I still see about 60 people come through here. On a slow day, I’ll do about $40 and on a good day I’ll do about $120. And I report taxes, too. I have a peddling license. When I first came out here the whole police issue was just nerve-racking. I’m working on a license to sell raw food next year because all my stuff is precooked. I can’t come out here with nothing raw. For example, the burgers are precooked from the store, so I’m basically warming them up.
For the couple of months I’ve been out here, it’s been good. I mean, it can be better. I want to go somewhere else but the food around here is sh–y. It’s only so much McDonald’s and Burger King you can take and then for some of us, we’ve been eating out at that place (G and N Breakfast on the corner of Leclaire and North Avenue) forever. Their stuff is a little expensive, too. A hot dog and fries from them is $6.50 but I give you a hot dog and a bag of chips for $2. I give you a polish and a bag of chips for $3. I give you a steak burger for $3. I give you a sloppy Joe sandwich on bread for $1. And I’ll give you a taco for $1. Nothing at my stand is over $3.
God willing, I’m here Monday through Saturday, but with my health I still can’t go full throttle yet. I’m still on disability too. I usually come out at about 7 a.m. and leave at 6 p.m. So I try to do breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m really out here three to four days a week. Until I get my stamina up.