HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) - A 13-year-old entrepreneur named Nathan Duszynski will be able to reopen his business almost one month after the City of Holland shut down his hot dog cart.
Holland mayor Kurt Dykstra unveiled a solution Wednesday night. He said the city council would temporarily allow Duszynski to use the city sidewalk -- just mere feet away from the teen's original spot. The action passed at Wednesday night's meeting.
The controversy around Duszynski started July 17 -- even before he boiled his first frank.
A city clerk shut down the soon-to-be 8th grader from selling food at the Reliable Sports parking lot along River Avenue. The city employee told Duszynski he was not in an area properly zoned for mobile food vendors.
"The City can be very, very picky. I know that," Duszynski told 24 Hour News 8.
The story grabbed national, and sometimes international, headlines.
"I was reading; there's this one paper -- USA Today -- it said (the story has) been in Africa and Europe, and stuff like that. I was like 'Wow'," Duszynski said.
Some media coverage was painted as the City versus small business, Dykstra said. The mayor said that depiction is unfair.
"What we did was neutrally apply an existing ordinance that's been on the books for a long time," Dykstra told reporters before the council meeting.
Dykstra added the City has been looking for alternative solutions and tried to get a hold of the Duszynski family. He said the City did not hear back.
Dykstra said he wants Nathan to succeed, but did not want to change city ordinances because of one example.
"We don't do things on a whim," Dykstra said. "We strategically think about how to do things, how to improve."
Dykstra's solution was simple: a temporary shift onto the city's sidewalk, where the city council could approve commercial use.
"He said, 'There's a difference. Private property, public property,'" explained Duszynski.
What the mayor said he didn't know is that the family was struggling. They had to go to a homeless shelter for a short time last week. And this week, Duszynski's stepfather was arrested.
The teen is optimistic about his business, which he started because his mom and stepfather are both disabled.
"My mom and dad, they're both on disability. My mom has epilepsy and my dad has multiple sclerosis, and they've been struggling a lot with their health issues," said Duszynski. "I thought if I could bring in a little bit of money, it would help them out a lot."
Duszynski told 24 Hour News 8 he will probably be back in business Aug. 22. He is approved to sell at the City-OK'd location until November.
"The first time when this happened I was kind of thinking, 'Don't go out and do this on your own,'" he said. "But now I kind of learned you can change stuff."
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