Mark Carter, the Hot Dog Man, celebrated his 15th anniversary Wednesday by selling hot dogs to a line of students outside Pruis Hall.
When Carter began his venture in 1994, he said, his wife told him, "They'll either make fun of you, or you'll be successful."
Judging by the steady line that forms Wednesday through Saturday night, it seems that the latter has happened for the Hot Dog Man.
Carter, who graduated from Ball State in 1983 with a bachelor's degree in management, said it was the "entrepreneurial spirit" that attracted him to the business.
He began selling hot dogs outside of the Delaware County Building before moving to the Village about a year later, he said.
Carter said at first he saw his business as just "a summertime thing."
"I never envisioned I'd be standing outside in January doing this," he said, adding that he's probably the only person who goes home and prays for global warming.
From 1998 to 2002, Carter took his business indoors to Carter's Nearly World Famous Hot Dogs in the Village. Now, Carter has gone back to basics, pushing his original hot dog cart around local college campuses.
Regular customers to Carter's hot dog stand know how to speak his language when they order. It's red and yellow, not ketchup and mustard. Instead of ordering onions, just say "smelly."
Some combos have been named after some of Carter's most loyal customers. A "Chewy Dog," or a "Wesley," depending on who you ask, is a dog loaded with mustard, onion, chili and cheese.
But even with these variations, Carter said the No. 1 seller is still the chili cheese dog.
For Carter, the appeal of his job is the independence it allows him.
"I'm too old to get a new job. I enjoy being my own boss," he said.