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Quirky name and stock makes Hot Dog a real wiener


Erika Faust | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 13th, 2012



When you step into certain locally owned shops in this city, you can feel the amount of passion and hard work that the owners put into making it a special place. Weezi (204 Albert St.) evokes that feeling, and so does Gift of Art (575 Richmond St.). Another place where this feeling of love and passion can be found is at Hot Dog Musique and Cinema, located at 256 Richmond St., at the corner of Horton and Richmond.

A love of film brought Mike Bott and Pam Haasen together at Fanshawe, and now they're sharing that love with the city of London through Hot Dog, which opened just over two months ago.

If you're driving down Richmond from downtown towards Horton, you definitely can't miss the shop. The outside is painted a bright pink, and the sign — painted by Haasen — features a giant hot dog. Inside, the walls are a vivid green, and paintings by area artists adorn the walls. "We wanted to make it pop and seem fresh but nostalgic at the same time," explained Haasen. The wire racks house hundreds of new and used DVDs, CDs, cassettes, records and even VHS tapes. The store has also hosted several live shows, including performances by Panties, Spookey Ruben and I Smell Blood.

Both Haasen and Bott are seriously passionate about what they're selling. "It's almost like you can have that conversation with anyone. Find out what they're into, what they have in their hands, and talk to them about it. We brought it all in here, so we know all about it. We can talk about everything," said Hassen.

She and Bott have been together for a few years, having met in Fanshawe's General Arts program. "We were in a film class together. He was pretty quiet in class," she remembered. Haasen was excited to be in college, and always wanted to have discussions with her classmates. "I wanted to be a film reviewer when I was a kid. That's gotta be the best job in the world. I just do it now without getting paid, and whether or not people ask me to," she laughed. "(Mike and I) very easily started talking about movies. It was the thing that brought us together, just talking about movies and music and it just went from there."

The couple had been talking about opening up a store like this for three or four years, said Haasen. "I always wanted Mike to do something like this, just because of the jobs he had before. He worked at (CDPlus and then Zeus), and so he saw firsthand what people in London wanted, and they just weren't getting it. A lot of their business was orders, and they found a lot of the time when they had shlocky or B-movie stuff, that's what people were wanting."

Haasen said she and Bott knew they wanted to specialize in those types of movies when opening their own store. "We wanted to have really diverse and harder-tofind titles, as well as Criterion collection (re-released old movies with tons of bonus features) stuff, as well," she continued. "We want to always have our favourite movies in stock or coming in. That's one of the things that brought Mike and I together — we liked very similar things."

As for the name, Haasen said she gets a lot of questions about it. "We've had people come in here and they're like, 'Oh, so this isn't a restaurant?'" she laughed. "I realize (the name) is quite misleading."

The name came after several discussions about what to call the new store. "When you have to pick a name, you pick the name that you hate the least," she explained. "I'd heard about this place in California that was called Burger Records, and I was like, 'Oooh, I really like that name.' You can picture (it) in your mind ... and it's just a name you remember." Going from there, she suggested Hot Dog. "It just stuck, and it felt like it worked, as well. It really doesn't have any meaning besides we liked the name and it's a visual thing, so it's kind of easy to brand that way."

Hot Dog's future is looking as bright as its walls. Movie rentals will be coming in the near future, said Haasen, and the couple hopes to continue to host live music. Haasen also said she hopes to have a hot dog stand outside in the summer. Above all, "We hope that we can just keep moving so that our stock doesn't get stale" and keep people happy with prices, she said.

Check out Hot Dog online at hotdogmusiqueandcinema.tumblr.com and on Facebook at tinyurl.com/hotdogfb. You can also check out Bott and Haasen's radio show, Bill Murray, at thebillmurrayradioshow.blogspot.com.
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