Food vendors: A Thai tradition with a twist of innovation - New York Times May 26, 2009
...Foreign visitors sometimes perceive street vending as a sign of developing-world poverty. But Thais view peddling as a chance to be one's own boss and earn handsomely. Ms. Sarintira knows a curry seller whose annual profits exceed $52,000, an upper-middle-class income in Thailand. At the big-box retailers and convenience store chains now spreading fast here, clerks typically earn just $3,000 to $4,000 a year.
A few street entrepreneurs have become millionaires. A video shows how Panrop Kamlah cooked up riches with the noodle cart he began 17 years ago. Not satisfied with his initial nightly earnings of $175, he started making his own noodle dough at home, then opened a second stall. After creating his own logo, relatives and friends asked to join, so he offered carts on franchise. Business exploded when he appeared on national television. Today he has a noodle factory and an empire of some 1,500 branded carts...
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