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Couple: Lamont and Kristina George
How long in relationship? Married since 2009
How long in business together? Scooter Snacks & More since 2016
Looking for your favorite old-school candy? Chances are you’ll find it inside this west Charlotte candy shop.
Lamont and Kristina George opened Scooter Snacks & More five years ago in the City West Commons plaza at the corner of West Boulevard and Remount Road after relocating from their hometown of St. Louis.
“We wanted to go back to the ways of old when kids only had $1 and wanted some candy,” Lamont said.
Around 2013, they partnered with the shop’s namesake — Lamont’s friend, Scooter — to open the original Scooter Snacks & More in St. Louis.
Mary Jane taffies, Dubble Bubble gum and Sugar Babies soft chews are among the 50-plus brands to satisfy your sweet tooth. For something a little more filling, the shop sells pizza, hot dogs, nachos and other snacks.
It was the concert business that actually brought the Georges to the Queen City. As a concert promoter, Lamont brought artists like Charlie Wilson, New Edition and Floetry to perform in venues across the midwest. When the couple saw growing opportunities in the Southeast, they realized they needed a new home base.
“You could have someone perform here in Charlotte on Friday and then in South Carolina on Saturday,” Kristina said.
Before the pandemic, a space inside the candy shop served as a box office for concert tickets. Now, it’s used as a tutoring area or space for birthday parties.
With their family back in St. Louis, the Georges saw west Charlotte as a place to build community.
“People would see just me and him in here every day, and they would ask, ‘Do you need some help?’” Kristina recalled. “They would watch our building when we were gone, and they still do today.”
They’ve participated in several activities with Reid Park Academy since the pandemic to connect with the neighborhood schools and families, whether it’s Lamont dressing up in the Scooter Bear costume at school functions or partnering with teachers to offer free slushies to reward students for good grades.
The biggest impact, Kristina says, is providing neighborhood children with a place to go.
For years, the area around West Boulevard and Remount Road has been a crime hot spot. Most recently, federal prosecutors filed a forfeiture complaint attempting to seize a strip mall property across the street from City West Commons where there’s been a history of drug-related crime and violence.
“I have kids come here and just watch TV because it’s a safe haven too,” said Kristina, whose background is in social work.
Making it work
Lamont and Kristina have found their balance in their personal and professional partnership.
With more than a decade of experience in working for himself, Lamont is the “risk-taker” who goes after the new opportunities. A barbershop next door, Ideal Barbershop, and revamping the former Club Cameo strip club into a music venue are among their other ventures. However, he says planning and preparation are just as important as execution.
“Every venture I go into, I go in with the same mindset — failure is not an option, and I’m going to succeed no matter what,” he said. “Everything is not going to always be right now or happen overnight, sometimes you have to take the time and be willing to take that leap of faith.”
Although Kristina considers herself more conservative, she says strong communication is their foundation.
“Sometimes I have to wheel him in and ask, ‘Does this make sense for our family right now?’” she said.
Newer to full-time entrepreneurship, Kristina runs the day-to-day operations for Scooter Snacks & More as well as handles administrative duties for their other businesses. Her dream is to open up a transitional housing facility for at-risk youth or people recovering from substance abuse.
“I don’t want us to just have a store. I don’t want us to just have a barbershop. I want people to have impact from whatever we do,” she said.
Scooter Snacks & More is located at 1520 West Blvd., Ste. F