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‘Sound of Us’ tells stories Northeast Ohioans want to tell — in their own voices.

Talking hot dogs and generational wealth in Downtown Cleveland

A graphic shows a hot dog vending stand in Downtown Cleveland.
Lauren Green
Ideastream Public Media
Davion Ankrum talks to reporter Xeaiver Bullock about being a hot dog vendor in Downtown Cleveland.

This story is part of a series of on-the-street interviews conducted by Xeaiver Bullock, a student at Lake Erie College and a 2022 Ideastream Public Media summer intern, as part of Ideastream Public Media's "Sound of Us" initiative to tell stories Northeast Ohioans want to tell.

Davion Ankrum, 18, works summers at ArchDoggs hot dog stand in Downtown Cleveland. His grandparents started the stand as a family business several years ago.

During the school year, Ankrum is a full-time student at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, where he majors in psychology.

Xeaiver: All right, so what corner are we on?

Davion: Ninth Street. Ninth and Euclid.

Xeaiver: So what does this hot dog stand mean to you?

Davion: It's my grandfather's business. He's trying to build generational wealth. And it's not just about to be hot dogs. This is the stepping stone. My grandma's dream, she wants to own a restaurant. So she's trying to use this to build into that. So I'm just trying to help them get there, to be honest.

Xeaiver: So building generational wealth, that's something big in Black communities. So is this something that you're going to pass on to your kids?

Davion: Of course, for sure. A part of me passing this on to my kids is, I would definitely instill, like, some at least money management. If they don't know how to do nothing in the world, they’re gonna know how to sell a hot dog, for sure.

The psychology of hot dogs

Xeaiver: You're studying psychology in college. How do you relate selling hot dogs to psychology?

Davion: Everybody that you encounter throughout the day is different. You got to really know how to be adaptable and be approachable. Especially as a Black dude. You know, I got a beard, tattoos. People might feel intimidated by me. So it's just, you got to know how to be approachable. So definitely seeing where peoples’ heads at, I like doing that for sure.

Xeaiver Bullock conducted this interview for Ideastream Public Media's "Sound of Us" initiative.
Xeaiver Bullock
Ideastream Public Media
Xeaiver Bullock conducted this interview for Ideastream Public Media's "Sound of Us" initiative.

Xeaiver: Do you feel like you can guess what kind of hot dog somebody's going to get?

Davion: Not really, everybody got their own taste, man. But we have these Polish Boys, I think Cleveland's the only place they do Polish Boys. But you can tell if it's an older dude, he probably want a Polish Boy. That's how they always be, man.

A work of art

Xeaiver: So let’s say I approach your stand and I’m actually about to buy a hot dog from you. What would you recommend?

Davion: I'll always be like, ‘Man, my grandma make this chili.' My grandma do actually make this chili, homemade. So I'll be like, 'This chili homemade. People say it’s pretty good.' They’ll jump on that. It sells every time!

Xeaiver: All right, let me get a Polish Boy with cheese and chili on it. And let me get onions and mustard. Walk me through it.

Davion: All right, so I will grab my utensils out. This water has, like, sanitizing tabs that you put in. And then I get the bun with the tongs. Grab you a Polish Boy. Place it in the bun. I'll put the wet stuff on first so the dry stuff can stick to it. My grandma says I'll make it look like a piece of art, but it ain't nothing to it. I just go back and forth with the condiments.

Black support

Davion: It's pro-Black up here, for sure. And I love that a lot because I'm Black. I get a lot of support from people who don't even want no hot dog. They just come over, they buy a bag of chips, buy water, just to show some support. I don’t really got that in Georgia, you know what I'm saying? So it's nice when I come up here and experience that. It is a new nice feeling.

Xeaiver: All right, so tell me again the name of the business and where people can find you.

Davion: This is Archdoggs, East Ninth and Euclid. This is a corporation my grandparents own. You see a blue and yellow umbrella with hot dogs on it, pull up. That's us.

The "Sound of Us" tells stories Northeast Ohioans want to tell. If you'd like to collaborate with us, get in touch!

Xeaiver Bullock is from from Fayetteville, North Carolina and currently lives and goes to school at Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio where he is studying communications and is quarterback on the football team. He will graduate in December of 2022.