It was 1995 when entrepreneur Naomi Oig found herself unemployed and about to embark on a career that was inspired by a childhood hotdog stand.
Today, Oig operates Nome’s Home, an umbrella company for Vendor Fest and the Hot Diggety Dog mobile food cart.
Oig spent her childhood in Selkirk, Man., and Winnipeg Beach. She described a hotdog stand called Hot Diggity Dogs that they drove past each summer on their way to Winnipeg Beach.
“Every time we’d go by it I would remind my mom that I’m going to have my own hotdog stand one day. She would say, ‘Sure dear,’ but that Hot Diggety Dog always stuck in my mind,” Oig said.
Oig found a newspaper advertisement from the Dryden Boys and Girls Club for the sale of a hotdog cart and purchased it for $2,500, with the help of the Ontario Self Employment Assistance program. While working in Dryden at the paper mill, Oig spent her off-time using the hotdog cart at bars, regional fairs and powwows selling hotdogs all the way to Emo and Red Lake.
Her journey had now begun in the food service industry.
“We decided to move to Thunder Bay in 2005,” she said. “I did a few fairs and a few other little events here and then I just stopped because I didn’t have any places to go because all the bigger trucks were here. Coming in with the little tent, that was intimidating.”
By 2013, Oig participated in a Metis Nation of Ontario program aimed at new entrepreneurs starting up a business. From this, her umbrella company, Nome’s Home, was born.
“I pondered renting the building next door to the Blue Sky Community Healing Centre near Victoriaville and calling it the Blue Sky Cafe,” she said.
“When the city decided that the new courthouse was going in that space, I thought I could change it to The Docket. But that didn’t happen.”
Rent jumped from $700 up to $1,500.
“I can’t afford that,” Oig said.
Reviewing her options, she joined a five-year program with Paro Centre for Women’s Enterprise where she received funding to further develop Nome’s Home.
“I started at my house and I operated Hot Diggety Dog from there,” she said. “I did markets and sold Sunset Gourmet Foods, which is a gluten-free product made in Winnipeg. So I got a table and I’m selling this stuff and there’s no nothing to eat. I asked if I could sell hotdogs and they said, ‘Yes, do whatever you want.’”
Oig headed to the Thunder Bay District Health Unit to learn what the next steps were. She became certified through the food handling course. With her base still situated in her home, Oig began booking the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition Heritage building, and the Oliver Road, Vickers Heights and North End Recreation Centres and rented tables to various vendors.
“That’s when I created Vendor Fest, my vendor business,” she said. “Whenever I hosted these, I was the food person and I’m still doing it today.”
Oig’s Hot Diggety Dog cart has been spotted all around the city this summer.
“I have a tent. I have my barbecue tables and whatever the health unit says I have to have,” she said. “I can sell a $4 hotdog for $3. I come in cheap because I don’t have a big truck, big gas and generators. I don’t have all of that big expense. All I have is my barbecue and my propane tank and the buns are the most expensive part of it.”
At the end of a session, Oig donates all her leftover food to the homeless tent camps and Thunder Bay Shelter House.
Oig says once winter sets in, she can be found indoors at the CLE Heritage building.
“But if there is something happening outdoors, there’s nothing saying I can’t sell my hotdogs. It’s a barbecue. I have my tent and I have winter boots.”

By Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jul 28, 2023 at 10:00

This item reprinted with permission from   The Chronicle-Journal   Thunder Bay, Ontario
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