SIOUX FALLS, SD (KELO) — A Sioux Falls businessman is getting ready to offer a second serving from his hot dog stand. Let Me Be Frank opened a year ago to long lines of customers who couldn’t get enough of Comet Buum’s Coney Island-style dogs. But just three months later, Buum abruptly shut down his business, citing personal health issues. Now he’s opening up about the challenges he faced as he gets ready to reopen his stand.
The familiar red and white umbrella topping the silver cart are telltale signs that hot dog season is returning soon to Sioux Falls.
“I’ve been waiting for this weather to change and hopefully, we see a beautiful summer, it’s looking great so far,” Comet Buum said.
Owner Comet Buum has a sunny outlook as he gets ready to serve hot dogs from his stand called Let Me Be Frank.
“By design, this business, I wanted to keep it small and simple and it turns out, it’s gonna be bigger than I ever imagined, which is great,” Buum said.
Our news cameras were at Let Me Be Frank’s opening a year ago when Buum ran our of hot dogs within two hours. His business was a sizzling success from the get-go.
“I would say it’s due to friendly customer service, it’s due to large portion sizes and it’s due to a fun menu,” Buum said.
“The all-beef frank is a serious hit. We have the best chili and you gotta try the mac and cheese dog,” Tabetha Belyeu said.
Buum’s friend from high school, Tabetha Belyeu also works at the hot dog stand.
“Giving anyone a hot dog gives them a smile, so it is just hand out smiles all day long,” Belyeu said.
But not long after opening for business, Buum started to realize he may have bitten off more than he could chew.
“What I found was that I was running around a lot and not serving that many people by trying to be everywhere at once. I had a lot better luck having routine lunch locations,” Buum said.
The demands of operating the stand became overwhelming to Buum.
“Just came to a point where I couldn’t take care of the business, my family, anything without taking care of myself first. So, I took a hard stop and I was thankful to be at a point in my life to where I could just stop everything I was doing and focus on myself for a few months,” Buum said.
You can’t tell by looking at him now, but Buum says he was in such a dark place that he attempted to take his own life.
“Well, there wasn’t a lot of time to pull myself out of what I have put myself into. Thankfully, my support system reached out at just the right moment because this could have all gone very differently for me and Let Me Be Frank might not be a thing,” Buum said.
Buum’s support system included friends like Belyeu.
“Keep those people close to you that help you get through the day. It’s very important and his support system is only growing: more and more people, more and more friends,” Belyeu said.
Buum’s thoughts are now with others who may be struggling with their own mental health issues.
“I’m a strong advocate for seeing a therapist. I’m a strong advocate for seeing a psychiatrist. There’s programs out there for anybody who needs help. I guarantee if you take the time to find the help you need, you can find it,” Buum said.
Buum spent the winter retooling his business model that will now focus mostly on serving lunches. He says reopening his hot dog stand will be therapeutic for him and show just how far he’s come from the brink.
“It saved my life just to stop and rethink how I was approaching everything and just try and take a hard look at myself in the mirror and make sure that I was set up for success,” Buum said.
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call the 988 Lifeline for help.
Let Me Be Frank will be selling hot dogs at J & L Harley Davidson on April 28th. Buum expects to open for lunches in May.