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Five years later he still relishes being in business

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Five years later he still relishes being in business

Rick Atwell pours a glass of homemade root beer in a frosty mug for a customer at The Hob Nob. The Ripon native celebrated five years as the owner of the business on Monday.

JASON CAMPBELL/The Bulletin


POSTED January 2, 2013 12:17 a.m.

How hard is it to make a hot dog?

If you ask Rick Atwell – the owner of The Hob Nob – it’s not all that difficult.

But managing a successful business through an economic downtown, he said, is it requires long hours, dedication, hard work and a devotion that lasts long after he closes up for the night and heads home..

On Monday Atwell celebrated his five-year anniversary by manning the counter of the peculiar, cone-shaped building on North Main Street. He bought the business from longtime local eatery owner Bob Lange who was looking to retire just as The Great Recession started.

He’s there six-days-a-week with his trademark smile and upbeat demeanor regardless of how many hours he has put in that week.

Because it’s the customers, he says, that make everything worthwhile.

“I love the people – it’s still the people that I get to meet and become friends with,” Atwell said. “I’ve developed a lot of friendships, and they’re not just casual or acquaintances – I’m talking about real friends.

“It’s the thing that makes all of the hours and the time worth it.”

And it’s the time that has helped Atwell keep his doors open through one of the toughest time for small businesses throughout the country.

The common misconception, he said, is that cooking up hot dogs for people is a simple business and that it doesn’t take much work.

But like any business owner he has to worry about overhead and meeting his financial obligations and the bottom-line. It also includes worrying whether he’s going to generate enough business month-to-month to stay solvent during a time when people just aren’t eating out as much as they used to.

It’s customer service and an unbridled dedication – the combination of getting to know each and every one of his customers and working hard even after he leaves his cone-shaped office – that Atwell believes has helped him weather the difficult times.

“To run a successful business in this economy is difficult,” he said. “It takes long hours and hard work and dedication, and it’s been hard at times but we’ve made it five years.

“We’ve thankful to our customers for their support in getting here.”

The Hob Nob is located at 1315 N. Main Street and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For additional information call (209) 825-2657.

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