You can count on two things when you visit STREET DOGZ Food Truck:
- Fixings the way you like them.
- “You’re going to be greeted with a smile, a cheery smile.” – Eric Tomlin
Tomlin (favorite dog variety: the signature chilidog) and his wife, Bridgette (chili cheese dog), who own and run STREET DOGZ, delivered on that promise once again while serving 100-plus guests at Regions’ Florissant Branch during the bank’s recent Big Bike tour throughout Greater St. Louis.
The day was personal on two fronts for the Tomlins, first because they bank with the Florissant team. Branch manager Brandy Pendleton invited them to be part of the festivities.
“I immediately thought of the Tomlins for our event,” said Pendleton (also a beef chilidog fan). “I’ve known Eric and Bridgette for over 10 years and have been proud to help support their business ventures. They are a great team, very family-oriented, community supporters and goal setters.”
On the second personal front, Eric Tomlin has also known Eric Madkins, Community Development manager for Regions in Missouri, for 30-plus years.
“Eric and I go back to junior high school,” said Madkins (favorite dog: bratwurst). “We graduated from Riverview Gardens High School together.”
In fact, when Regions brought Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) to St. Louis in 2019, Madkins encouraged Tomlin to apply for the tuition-free, “mini-MBA” program serving under-resourced entrepreneurs. He knew his friend’s thirst for knowledge and tireless energy made him a great candidate.
“Eric represents the true essence and spirit of entrepreneurialism,” said Madkins. “He’s a visionary, he’s strategic and he has a drive that is boundless.”
For Tomlin, the referral from Madkins wasn’t a surprise.
“Eric is always helping with giving out information with what’s coming up with programs like ICCC,” said Tomlin. “The networking and strategy were really helpful. I would encourage other small businesses to participate in it as well; you’ll definitely get something from it.”
Tomlin has called on those ICCC takeaways many times growing from one small business to three during the past several years. Along with STREET DOGZ, Eric and Bridgette own and run a second food truck called STREET SWEETS. Eric also owns and operates a tow truck business. He’s often deployed by insurance companies to assist with roadside rescues during natural disasters.
“I tested high for mechanics while I was in the Air Force,” explained Tomlin of the why behind launching their third business. “Being mechanically inclined put me in a different lane with this. I like to move around, and I like being able to help people when they need it.”
Eric and Bridgette are constantly on the move. And they wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love traveling to different locations and interfacing with our customer base,” said Bridgette, whom Eric refers to as “my backbone” in running the daily operations of STREETDOGZ and STREETSWEETS. They also count on other family members to help during community events.
“Our greatest challenge is trying to find workers,” said Bridgette.
I love traveling to different locations and interfacing with our customer base. Bridgette Tomlin
“Some of the long hours we worked meant we didn’t have time to do family stuff,” said Eric. “Getting them involved allowed us to do more together.”
The Tomlins’ advice for anyone considering entering the food business?
“Do your research,” said Bridgette.
“Make sure you have a passion for it because there’s going to be a lot of times you have to do it on your own,” added Eric. “You can’t find someone to support your dream if they don’t have the passion for it themselves.”
The Tomlins demonstrate that passion in abundance serving their customers. And they’re grateful for opportunities like the Regions event to show it.
“It’s nice to know they’re giving back to support my business,” said Eric. “Brandy has always been helpful with any of our banking needs. They always know you by name when you walk in.”
Regardless of your favorite dog variety, it was a proud day for STREET DOGZ and for Pendleton and her team.
“I was so happy that our branch was chosen to represent our culture and image,” Pendleton said. “Every day when I put on my name tag, it’s a certain image customers will see. We just showed that times 10 that day.”