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Yellowknife weiner war erupts

Kevin Allerston
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (June 08/05) - You can satisfy your craving for a hotdog or fries a lot cheaper these days, thanks to a price war going on at the corner of Franklin Avenue and 50th Street.

NNSL photo/graphic

Gulen Gelale (above) recently began selling fries out of his hotdog stand for two dollars, undercutting his competition's price. David Lantz (below) has been parking his car downtown overnight to ensure a prime spot along 50th Street for his Chipman 1/4 Pound Fries stand, which now also sells hotdogs.

NNSL photo/graphic

David Lantz, with his Chipman 1/4 Pound Fries truck, and Gulen Gelale, with Jevati Hotdogs, are vying for the same spot and the same customers in the busy location across from CIBC.

Their fight took a nasty turn in recent weeks when both introduced expanded menus and started peddling each other's core products at prices intended to undercut the competition.

Gelale hit the street with a new cooking station last week and started selling the fries at the same time.

Meanwhile, hotdogs are now a prominent item at the Chipman's truck, where roughly 50 to 70 customers get their lunch each day.

"Competition is healthy in this town," Gelale said. "More competition is good for the customers."

Battle began

The battle began with a fight for prime real estate. Both operate in spots designated for vendors by the city that are available on a daily first-come-first-served basis.

One spot does have a distinct advantage, as the vendor who holds the location on 50th can stay open until 7 p.m., while the cart on Franklin must be removed by 4:30 p.m. to make room for rush hour traffic.

They have both controlled that prime location in the past, but Lantz' Chipman operation has monopolized the spot in recent weeks.

Parks overnight

To ensure he doesn't lose his place, Lantz parks his car there overnight, reserving it until the next morning.

"(Gulen) would be down here and he would take off at two or three," he said.

"He had this spot, he was monopolizing it, but he wasn't utilizing it."

Gelale has said he is fine with working on Franklin, but admitted it does come with a disadvantage.

"The location here is not that bad, but at 4:30 p.m. you have to move from here," he said. "I'm happy here - I'm happy I've got fries now, too."

The two are not the only vendors downtown - Harvey Walsh sells hotdogs and sausages on the corner outside the Toronto Dominion Bank.

"I'm not making a fortune out here, but I'm doing well enough," said Walsh.

He said he wouldn't want to work at the disputed corner as his spot is cleaner and has fewer problems.