DIXFIELD — Those familiar with the hot dog stand in the parking lot of the Dixfield American Legion may be surprised to find a few new faces behind the counter.

Brad Dyer, whose primary business is selling insurance at the Senior Planning Center, said that he bought the hot dog stand, known as “Doug’s Dogs,” in 2013 from longtime owner Doug Swann.

“This hot dog stand has been around for 18 years,” Dyer said. “I remember driving past the stand when I was 17 years old and seeing Doug sitting on his stool, talking with people, and thinking, ‘I want this.’”

Dyer said that he and his wife, Micky, drove past the hot dog stand one day and were shocked to find that it was for sale.

“She looked at me and said, ‘What do you want to do,’ and I said, ‘We should buy this,’” Dyer said.

A year later, Dyer and his family have expanded the business by purchasing a new cart and placing it in front of Marden’s Discount Store on Route 2 in Rumford. While Dyer, his wife and his youngest son, Jesse, run the Dixfield location, his oldest son, Bailey, runs the Rumford location.

“I’d have 10 of these things if I could,” Dyer said with a smile. “My favorite part about the whole thing is the people. You have people from all over the world stopping by for a hot dog and looking to talk about politics or their spouses. The people really are the coolest.”

Although the hot dog stand continues to attract regulars, Dyer said that some of the regulars who visited the stand have stopped returning since he and his family took over for Swann.

“Doug is a legend here,” Dyer said. “I really have to give kudos to him. People would visit the hot dog stand just to see him and talk to him. I noticed some of the regulars stopped showing up once Doug left.”

Dyer added that people interested in seeing Swann sitting at the hot dog stand again can visit on Tuesdays, where he’ll run the stand from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“He agreed to come back on Tuesdays and run the stand, which is awesome,” Dyer said. “We also have Jon Holmes, who is also a legend in the area, sitting in on Wednesdays.”

Heading into his second year owning Doug’s Dogs, Dyer said that he has ideas for how to continue expanding.

“I’d love to have a shack here under the Doug’s Dogs name,” Dyer said. “It’d be the size of a parking space, and it would allow us to stay open later in the season.”

Dyer added that the shacks typically cost between $3,000 and $4,000 to build.

“Right now, it’s a little tough to do something like that,” Dyer said. “It costs money to expand and try new things.”

Dyer said he wanted to open additional hot dog stands throughout the region, including one in Farmington and another in Oxford, and was interested in starting a hot dog-eating contest.

“I contacted the organization that sets up those contests, but I haven’t heard anything back from them yet,” Dyer said. “I feel like it’d be a really fun thing to do.”

The idea of creating a fun environment remains the driving force behind the Dyer family running Doug’s Dogs.

“When you come here, our idea is to keep it simple and friendly,” Dyer said. “We love our community here. We never get sick of it. We just want to do something for the people in town.”

Doug’s Dogs is open six days a week, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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