HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — In the morning of Tuesday, September 17, 2019, a petition signed by thousands was delivered to Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert, asking Stewarts Hot Dogs to be allowed back on campus. It’s a story 13 News has been following since the spring. At the end of August, it was announced that Sodexo and Stewarts Hot Dogs were parting ways.

John Mandt, Jr. is the owner of Stewarts Hot Dogs. He says he feels like he was pushed out from being able to sell his products at Marshall sporting events.

It all started back in April when a petition circled around asking Marshall to cut ties with Stewart Hot Dogs.

Steven Davis and Mark Casertas made their way into the Old Main Hall on campus with a letter asking President Gilbert that Stewarts be reinstated.“We didn’t believe that was the right thing to do, so we decided to put a petition on,” said Steven J. Davis of ‘Concerned Citizens of Huntington.’

In just three weeks, the group ‘Concerned Citizens of Huntington’ has been able to gather 4800 signatures asking Marshall University to reinstate Stewarts Hot Dogs at their athletic venues.

“That’s crazy, that’s very humbling,” said Mandt, Jr. “We’re blessed to have a community that’s loyal.”

We have received the petition and it will be sent to Sodexo, which holds the contract with its sub vendor, Stewarts.

Marshall University Spokesperson

While the contracts were between Mandt and Sodexo, Mark Casertas still believes Marshall has a say in the cause.

“We’re hopeful that the president of Marshall will take this petition today and gives it some serious consideration, and maybe even some prayer.”

“I think they were removed for political reasons, and we don’t believe that should’ve been the case at all,” said Davis.

As for Mandt, he says it would be difficult to come back into the stadium because of how he feels he was treated by the University.

“I don’t know that, that we can go back in there and operate as we did for 32 years,” said Mandt. “It would make it kind of tough. Would I be open to talking and seeing what we could do? Sure.”

Since the football season started, Mandt has set up tents on the corner of 5th Avenue and 20th Street to sell the famous “Thunderdogs” for $2 dollars each. He has also made them a part of the menu at ‘Stewarts Hot Dogs’ in Huntington and Kenova.