By Sarah Shurge – Life is full of inspiration. Small everyday things can influence your future without you even realizing it. The smell of hot dogs when you walked into Home Depot. The “Big Boy” statue outside of Big Boy wearing his retro red and white suspenders hoisting up a plate with a burger.
These might seem like insignificant things, but to some people, they are inspiration. Some people like Lorence Scott II, who was inspired to start his own food cart business, Fat Man Nok’s.
For six years, Scott worked at Home City Ice in Romulus. He was working nine to 12 hour shifts a day, six days a week. He was tired. Tired from the long hours and tired of not being able to see his three daughters and his long-term girlfriend.
While life is full of inspiration, it is also full of life-defining moments. Moments that make you take a good long hard look at your life. Moments like when Scott got injured on the job.
He informed his employers that he was not sure if he could return to working the third shift, but in his absence, they shut the third shift down. After putting in so much time, work, and effort into his job, Scott felt replaceable. So, he decided to start a business by himself.
In order to start something, you need to have an idea.
“About a year and a half ago I decided I wanted to do something with food,” said Scott. “I wanted to provide something quick and easy for customers that they would enjoy.”
Scott thought back to when Home Depot used to sell hot dogs and how everyone loved them. He thought of how he used to come to the different Coney Islands in Wayne even before he moved here almost four years ago. He thought of how hot dogs are his favorite on-the-go food. With all of this, he came up with his idea.
With every great idea, it needs a great location.
Scott did research around the community for where people walked, traveled, or drove past for work. He lives a few blocks away from the West Town Market on the corner of Howe Rd. and Forrest St., and this gave him the idea about the location.
Scott presented his idea to the owners of West Town Market, father and son, Gus Faraj and Joey Faraj. Their full support was Scott’s green light to move forward with his business.
“He is from the neighborhood, he’s a great guy, and customers really appreciate having food. I thought it would be a great idea for the neighborhood,” said Joey.
Scott had the idea, he had the location, now he just needed the supplies.
Life is full of inspiration, life-defining moments, and life is full of the right people you need at the right time.
Scott moved to Wayne nearly four years ago and one of his neighbors happens to be Jeff Frazier. Frazier owns Frazier’s Auto Service Towing. When Scott mentioned his business idea, Frazier offered to drive Scott six hours round trip to Canton, Ohio to purchase the food cart he needed.
“At first we didn’t really know each other. Just a ‘hi’ or ‘hello’ in passing. Then one day he mentioned my tow trucks and said he needed a favor. He offered to pay, but I said I’d do it just because he was my neighbor and it was the neighborly thing to do,” said Frazier. “That was somebody’s dream and I would rather help someone out with their dream, instead of saying ‘nope’ and walking the other way.”
Frazier and Scott talked during the trip and quickly became friends. When they got to Ohio, Scott looked over the cart and bought the whole business, aside from the name.
And thus, Fat Man Nok’s Hot Dogs and Smoked Sausages was created.
“I always get asked about the name. People comment that I’m not fat, or why is my design fat, and I say ‘invite me over for dinner and you’ll find out real quick.’ It’s an appetite thing, it’s fun for people to say, and it’s memorable,” said Scott.
Scott designed his logo with the inspiration of the “Big Boy” statue in mind. He designed himself standing holding a plate of hot dogs with a red and white canopy in the background.
“People think when you own your own business that it’s gonna be easier. It’s not. It’s harder. You have to put more hours in and be dedicated,” said Scott.
Every morning, Scott wakes up and starts his food prep. Then he drives to the lot next to West Town Market and has his cart set up by 10:30 a.m. He begins serving customers by 11 a.m. and stays out until 6 or 7 o’clock.
The menu offers: polish sausage, hot polish sausage, hot dog, coney dog, coney loose burger, pickled red hot snack sausage, and pulled pork sandwich.
Fat Man Nok’s hours are 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
“It’s a perfect match. People come inside to get their drink or ice cream and then go outside for a hot dog,” said Joey. “It’s walking distance for the majority of the people in the neighborhood so they don’t even need to drive. It’s a one stop shop.” Scott originally opened his cart in August 2021 and ran it through December 2021. Mid-April this year is when he opened the stand back up and he claims business has increased over the season.
When asked what the best and worst part of running the business was, Scott ironically gave the same answer: the people.
“My favorite part is definitely the people. Seeing people enjoy my food and seeing people bring other people. It’s genuine. You don’t go to a restaurant, eat a bad burger and bring someone back and say ‘come eat this bad burger,’” said Scott. “But you can’t satisfy everyone. No matter if it’s good or bad, I deal with it. I treat everyone the same.”
Through networking, and as word is spreading, more and more people are learning about Fat Man Nok’s. The City of Wayne-Downtown Development Authority asked Scott to bring Fat Man Nok’s to the Makers Market in Downtown Wayne.
“People tip well. It’s just the community taking care of the community,” said Scott.
Scott also takes pride in taking care of the community. Kids and the homeless get a free hot dog.
Scott plans to keep his cart open for the season as long as weather permits, which usually is until the beginning of December. He has a food truck in the works to hopefully be ready by football season, so he can be serving food all year long, and he is looking into having more locations for the cart in the future. He plans to keep building and growing his brand so he can leave something behind when he’s gone.
“I’m going to keep manifesting this vision and serving the community,” said Scott.
For more information about Fat Man Nok’s, you can find them on Facebook by searching Fat Man Nok’s, or on Instagram at @fatmannoks, or call (734)205-2040. Nok’s Food Truck also has a Facebook page where updates on the progress of the truck are posted. You can find it on Facebook by searching Nok’s.