Kelsie Vose was simply eight years previous when she bought concerned within the household enterprise: working a corn canine stand on the Illinois State Honest. Her first job was to squeeze the lemons used to make lemonade shake-ups.
“Rising up as a child, my summers weren’t regular like the opposite youngsters,” she stated. “As soon as July 1 hit, I knew I needed to work each weekday; we had been open Monday by way of Friday. And I might go to work with my dad, and my little sister would come alongside as soon as she was somewhat older,” Vose stated. Whereas she could not have had the standard childhood summer season expertise, Vose stated she loved getting a paycheck. “It was so cool to know that I labored exhausting, and I did all of that to have the ability to purchase one thing large of my very own.”
As a younger baby, her primary objective was to learn to rely change in order that she may work on the entrance counter. She spent years on lemons, the register and odd jobs earlier than graduating to corn canine obligation as a teen. “I used to be 15 or 16, and I knew I may do it,” Vose stated. “It is simply been part of my complete existence.”
Kelsie Vose is a part of the third technology of Vose corn canine distributors. Her grandfather, Bob Vose, based Vose’s Korndogs in 1966. Bob Vose used to ship ice to distributors on the fairgrounds, and someday he stuffed in for a sick vendor.
“He fell in love with it, that was it. So, we’ve got spent our complete lives out right here,” stated Sandy Orr, Bob Vose’s daughter. Orr has labored the stand for about 50 years now, and the enterprise has continued to be run by household and household mates since its inception.
“Even my son, who’s 10, he loves to return out and assist shake a number of lemonades, stick some sizzling canine,” Kelsie Vose stated. “So, we’re on our fourth technology of children, together with a pair generations of assist which have been mates of ours and their youngsters. And I hope it continues.”
Vose stated that her loyal buyer base has strongly impacted the stand’s 55 years of success. “We simply see generations of consumers. We now have those who have recognized me since I used to be 6 years previous, and now their great-grandchildren are out right here. They arrive again annually, and we have had those who have proposed out right here,” she stated.
Nonetheless, greater than 5 a long time of operating a household enterprise has been something however simple. Challenges embody mixing household time with operating a enterprise, burn accidents on the job and shedding the household matriarch. “My grandma handed away in the course of the 2017 state honest, and that was robust,” Vose stated.
She famous that the previous couple of years have been notably difficult, together with the fairground flooding in 2016 and final yr’s cancellation. Vose stated the household has been “bouncing again.”
Whereas the climate is a problem some years, rain that postpones live performance performances has really pushed extra enterprise to the stand as attendees had been moved out of the Grandstand towards the storefront. “There is a vivid facet to issues, I feel,” Vose stated.
Vose at the moment works full time for the state within the Division of Human Providers, however she takes 11 days of trip time annually to run the stand, alongside along with her dad. She stated that one of many challenges of managing a household enterprise is reconciling familial relationships with enterprise interactions.
“It’s a must to discover that completely satisfied medium. It’s a must to notice that that is solely 11 days, and you’ll’t let it make or break your relationships with your loved ones. These are lengthy hours, lengthy days. It is sizzling and it is annoying and it is busy,” Vose stated.
Vose’s Korndogs has two meals service choices side-by-side on the fairgrounds throughout from the Grandstand, however the household additionally works at different occasions all year long, with the primary season going down between Could and late September. Regardless of the pandemic, the corn canine stand is already doing a fantastic enterprise main as much as the honest, and Vose stated she expects most of her common prospects to return, as individuals are able to get out and about after final yr’s summer season at residence.
The Voses’ stand was open all through the week in 2020 that the state honest would have taken place, nevertheless it wasn’t the identical, in keeping with Vose, and enterprise mirrored that.
“You did not hear the audio system going with Sam Madonia’s voice, and Sutter’s Taffy and Cullers’ Fries clanging. The ambiance wasn’t there.” Vose stated. “It was disappointing, and it was a tragic a part of August. It simply wasn’t what all of us knew and have recognized our complete lives.”
Not many stands have been round so long as Vose’s, and a few usually are not returning after 2020’s hiatus, as some distributors have been unable or unwilling to proceed enterprise.
“I feel 2019 was good, nevertheless it wasn’t ok to make up for lots of the shortfalls the years earlier than,” stated Vose. “So, numerous them had been most likely on the fence earlier than the pandemic occurred.”
The Voses profit not solely from one another’s assist, but in addition from the opposite vendor households. “We’re a good household. All of us distributors, we grew up collectively. We have been right here for therefore a few years, and all of us undergo the identical trials and tribulations, however we additionally take pleasure in that camaraderie. We now have such robust emotions towards the Illinois State Honest,” Vose stated.
The household is able to welcome again prospects, together with the honest’s sense of familiarity, consolation and mates. “I need folks to return out, and I need folks to take pleasure in it. People who have not been in years however are simply able to get out, I wish to see them,” Vose stated. “Springfield wants it, too. That is an enormous a part of their tourism.” -Meredith Howard