LeRoy Whipple will give advice about plumbing but not about love. The owner and sole employee of the Dog Days hot dog stand near the C.C Little bus stop serves up advice with the hot dogs and coffee he sells but limits it to what he calls “just common sense stuff.”
People ask him for advice on topics ranging from the mundane -directions, which he’s happy to help with — to the life-changing, like proposing to a girlfriend. Whipple says he advertises his free advice in order to get people talking. He is happy to give advice to students because he has “been around longer” than they have.
Whipple’s large grill keeps the small but well-organized stand warm even in the middle of winter. One wall is covered with pictures of regular customers, who make up the Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Whipple says customers as diverse as professors, construction workers and student-athletes become regulars because they like his frankfurters. He sells Koegel’s hot dogs along with coffee, chips, water, soda, bagels and hot chocolate. His most popular item is the chili dog.
The Ossawa, Mich. native bought the stand about two years ago. He drives into Ann Arbor from his home in Dundee every morning and begins prep work at 7 a.m. He drives the stand to his spot near the bus stop at 10 a.m. and opens at 10:30. He stays open until after 3 p.m. and does not finish cleaning the stand until about 5:30.
Whipple uses the Barry Bagels shop in Westgate Plaza for preparations and clean up. He is an investor in the shop and is engaged to one of its partners. He met her years ago at Scorekeepers bar after a football game.
Whipple does not close the stand unless students are on a break from school, which he said are too frequent. “Lord knows they get enough of that,” he said.
As he heated up his charcoal grill for another day of grilling hot dogs recently. Whipple said he does not operate his stand for the money but rather to “take care of his clientele.”
“I’m not just out here for a quick dollar,” he said.
Although Whipple makes “enough to pay the bills,” he is not getting rich from the stand. But if he were not there everyday, he said, people would think he didn’t care.
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