After many years as a seamstress Sandra decided to put that aside to sell food. Fifteen years later she has no regrets. (Picture by Xtra Vision Photography.)
SANDRA MALONEY never expected that when she made the decision 15 years ago to switch gears and start a business selling food she would have customers who would say that her hot dogs were the best they have ever had.
Some cannot complete their journey to work unless they pass by for fishcakes at Sha-San’s Cart at her Belleville, St Michael location, just outside the George Street Auditorium.
Pregnant women leave St Lucy to make their way there just to get some apple juice as it’s the only thing that will stay down, she said.
Maloney, known by some as “the hot dog woman”, said she always liked cooking and knew her food tasted good, but she wasn’t prepared for the response of her clients.
She made the change to selling food because after many years as a seamstress she was experiencing difficulties in getting paid.
“People would ask you to make something, then they do not come to collect it or they say they do not have all the money, and would bring it back but never come,” she said.
“So I had to do away with that even though it was my passion.
“I was doing that for 20 years but then I realised that it was not doing a lot for me in terms of me progressing so I thought that I would try the food business; I like cooking and it was a natural fit. I got into it and so far, so good.”
Sandra Maloney, known as the ‘hot dog woman’, said she adds something special to the water when she boils her hot dogs and that’s what makes them taste so good.
As fate would have it, when the man who used to sell from the George Street location had to take a break, Sandra enquired about filling that gap.
She contacted the office responsible for running the auditorium but was told that the previous vendor was only closed for renovations, but had not given up the position. However, she mentioned the idea to her sister who said she knew the guy. Maloney contacted him and got the go-ahead to utilise the area, and as they say, the rest is history.
She said it was difficult when she started, but many customers had stuck by her through the years and she always managed to get new customers.
Maloney sells hot dogs, hamburgers, fishcakes and recently introduced fish cutters and natural juices. She wants to expand the menu soon.
“Most people dub me as the fishcake lady. Some people say I have the best fishcakes in Barbados and I get a lot of repeat customers,” she said.
“I start at 7:30 a.m. and by 10:30 a.m. my fishcakes are gone”.
Sandra Maloney preparing her fishcakes which most of her customers say are the best they ever had.
She said she adds something special to her hot dogs and customers cannot get enough of them.
To people who may be thinking about switching careers and may be thinking of getting into their own business, Maloney said: “For sure you have to be prepared to work really hard because doing this business you have to wake up very early and even when I leave work at 3 p.m. I have to go home and prepare for the next day.”
The mother of a son said business can be up and down, but she always gave thanks for what the day brought.
“There were challenges but all in all it was good,” she said. “I was able to achieve this van and I will be done paying for it in a year and I have had it for seven years.”
The soft-spoken Maloney said plans to expand the business are a bit in the distance, but some day she would like to own a restaurant and pursue formal cooking classes. (LK)