The hot dog feud over the name ‘Jumbo’ heated up before the van destroyed the local stand
A row over the name of a hot dog vendor stand on a busy Clifton street escalated on Wednesday when a van crashed into one of the businesses, demolishing everything inside.
Dave Martina, the owner of The Original Jumbo’s – the hot dog stand that was destroyed – says he has been threatened in the past by people who have accused him of stealing his name, logo and photos from a hot dog business owned by another family at that time. same place about 50 years ago.
Due to the ongoing feud, Martina wondered if the driver of the construction van, hired to work at a nearby pizzeria, had deliberately crashed into her business.
“I was threatened,” Martina said on Friday. “I am always threatened. I have to wonder if it was done on purpose or not.
Clifton Police, however, doubt the accident was an intentional act.
But an email from a relative of the original stand sent to NJ Advance Media on Thursday gave some insight into the leak.
“This is what happens when you disrespect the alumni of … the legitimate founders and creators of ‘Jumbo’s Italian Ices and Hot Dogs,'” Rich Gebbia said in the email.
Gebbia, from Clifton, said in a telephone interview on Friday that her grandfather opened ‘The Original Jumbo’s’ in the 1960s and ran it until his store closed a decade later.
The building was empty until Martina opened a shop a week ago, which Gebbia said he and his family didn’t appreciate. A photo of Gebbia’s grandfather hangs on the new building.
“He grabbed the location, grabbed the name. I went there pretending to be the original,” Gebbia said. “I think it’s just ironic that (the) powers kind of stopped him from doing what he does, which I thought was incredible.”
Martina said he had also received complaints that his business name sounded like another vendor across the street, Jumbo Ices.
“The hot dog business across the street is Jumbo without ‘s.’ They also sell hot dogs and Italian gelato,” Martina said.
The owner of Jumbo Ices could not immediately be reached for comment on Friday.
Martina spent 18 months and $55,000 to realize her dream of opening the stand when it opened on April 28. It’s his third hot dog business in the area, but his first in a convenient location with custom steamers, sinks and refrigeration. .
After an article on the accident published on NJ.com On Thursday, Gebbia emailed NJ Advance Media, saying Martina stole the “Jumbo” name and therefore got what it deserved.
“We talked to him (Martina) and we were just laughed at and said we couldn’t stop him, but guess what, now he’s stopped!” Gebbia said.
Gebbia said on Friday he thought the accident was accidental, but “ironic” at the same time.
Clifton Police agreed, saying surveillance video shows the crash was nothing more than a freak traffic accident that ended with a van crashing into a building.
“It was a three-car accident. It was someone making a U-turn and it was just an accident,” said Det. Lt. Robert Bracken, of the city police department, told NJ Advance Media.
Bracken said security camera video showed the entire crash from start to finish.
The 6 p.m. crash involved an illegal U-turn, a car clipping another vehicle and the red work van driving into the hot dog building, police said.
“It was an accident, pure and simple,” Bracken said. “There is no other explanation unless three cars could have ended up on the same page and made all of this happen.”
“There’s definitely a feud going on, there’s no doubt about it,” Bracken added. “There was a feud for a while over the name and stuff like that.”
Police said the accident is still under investigation. It was unclear on Friday whether any of the drivers had received a ticket.
Martina said he plans to rebuild the business. He said he is covered by insurance, but he expects the driver of the van’s insurance company to pay for repairs and construction.
“I lost everything, it seems. Her insurance company is going to have to pay for it,” Martina said.
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