Pickles, incense, underwear — ‘Hustleman’ sees green in Red Line job
BY MITCH DUDEK Staff Reporteremail@example.com May 21, 2013 7:40PM
Updated: June 23, 2013 6:30AM
They’re already slurping up his snow cones, but the fresh hordes of rerouted Red Line riders parading past Garland Gantt’s corner cart can also buy anything from tank tops to body oils.
You crave pickles after a long commute?
Gantt has you covered.
Gantt, 47, is one merchant who has no complaints about the Red-Line reroute. His streetside retail business is booming.
On Monday, Gantt stepped away from his snow cone cart, located a block west of the Green Line’s Garfield stop, to go over the inventory in the back of his van.
“I sell sheet sets for your bed, barrettes, perm, face towels, incense ... fisherman caps, body oils, pickles, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, big bath towels, tank tops, kid’s socks, body wash, soap, underwear.”
Customers know Gantt as the “Hustleman,” a handle that also appears on his business cards: “Call Hustleman. If you don’t see it. Ask for it.”
Gantt sold out Monday after slinging 300-plus snow cones at a buck a piece.
“Not even at the Bud Billiken [Parade] I never did that.”
Gantt grew up in the open-air merchandise business.
“My mom runs a flea market stand at 41st and Ashland. She made me come with her when I was a kid.”
His long list of year-round wares has provided for three kids, and purchased Gantt a house in the Burnside neighborhood.
His “Hustleman” career began in earnest a few years after getting kicked out of Dunbar High School.
“I was ditching class and doing things I shouldn’t be doing.”
The Garfield stop has provided Gantt with shoppers for the last 12 years.
“It’s just what I’m good at. I’m comfortable with it, making my own hours, taking care of my family. The best part is when I save my money up at the end of the week and count it.”