Suncoast man says no to retirement, opens hot dog stand

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SARASOTA - People usually think of retirement as what they'll do at the end of their career, but here on the Suncoast, retirement is often just the beginning of a new one.

Jim Slobodnik or Jimski, as he likes to be called, thought he was all done with work. When he and his wife retired to the Suncoast they were just going to sit back and take it easy. In no time at all he was bored to death. But the next career he chose almost killed him.

Since setting up his cart at Johnny's Car Wash, Jimski is getting rave reviews on his hot dogs and lots of return customers.

Slobodnik grew up in Chicago where he had a very successful career. "I had I had my own design studio in Chicago. I build and design cars for some of the leading manufacturing companies."

But after retiring to Florida he got bored and opened a restaurant at the Marathon Station on the South Tamiami Trail. The stress got to him and he had developed life threatening heart problems. His doctor gave him a dire warning. "He said if you want to be around for a while longer get rid of the street."

As he pondered what to do next, he was approached by some of his former customers who worked at Jonny's Car Wash.

"A couple of our guys loved his hot dogs. He's been wonderful...They're excellent," says Assistant Manager Mark Souza.

Jimski says you bet they are. He sells only Vienna Hot Dogs that were developed in Chicago during the depression. The nutritious Vienna Hot Dogs were sold on carts on Chicago streets. They cost 4 cents to make and sold for a nickel. That penny profit was pretty good back then. Jimski's hot dogs sell for $3 to $4, and he says you can still make a good living selling hot dogs today. "You can make a pretty good living at anything if you really put your heart and soul into it."

He certainly puts his heart and soul into these dogs. "I like to see the look on people's face when they take that first bite.”

Going from restaurant to hot dog stand may have just saved his life. "The stress level has dropped. I feel better. I see the doc once a month. It's working out really, really god. This has worked out the best I've ever done and it's all due to hot dogs."

Look for Jimski and his hot dog cart and try his famous Chicago hot dogs on Monday, Friday and Saturday’s from 10 to 4 at Johnny's Car Wash at 3825 South Tamiami Trail next to Southgate Mall.