Family’s Ordeal To Fulfill Business Dream

March 29, 2012 by staff 

Family’s Ordeal To Fulfill Business Dream, At the turn of the millennium, Rodney and Elma Eaton seemed to have it made. Rodney was making six figures as a pressman for a successful printing firm. They had a beautiful house in Corona, Ca., featuring a pool and horses to keep their four kids busy and happy.

But Elma wanted something more. Specifically, she wanted vacations that did not include sleeping outdoors and cooking over a campfire. In order to get money to afford something a bit more luxurious, she decided to open a hot dog stand. Elma had worked in food services before and had a friend who’d made good money running a cart. But Elma had something her friend didn’t: Rodney.

A super-handy guy with a flair for design, Rodney built Elma a hot dog cart that looked so sharp it drew a lot of customers and ultimately someone who wanted to buy it and the business. After repeating the same pattern a few more times, Rodney and Elma decided to forget selling hot dogs and focus on building and selling carts. They made plans to downsize their lives and build the business slowly. But Rodney also wanted something more: To work for himself.

“I wanted to be independent,” he says. “I knew this could be successful deep down inside and I just couldn’t wait.” So in 2000, Rodney gave up a $125,000 salary — and decided to go into business for himself. Telling his wife he’d just quit his great job at the printing shop was just the first of many hardships Rodney, and his family, would have to endure.

“When Rodney called me and told me he had just quit his job I panicked,” Elma recalls. He made 125 thousand dollars a year…and then nothing.” Having already sold their house in Corona, the Eatons suddenly found themselves without a home or any income. For the next three years, the family would LIVE IN what RODNEY calls “a really junky 1970 trailer” with no running water. “It wasn’t pretty,” he recalls. “We lived in dirt.” Times were tough — really tough for the Eatons, who had to borrow water from a neighbor and haul away their waste, and tried (unsuccessfully) to get Food Stamps. But Rodney had a dream to build better food trucks far superior than anything he has ever created.

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