Carrie Woodson: Capturing Our Hearts, Through Our Stomachs

 

Name: Carrie Woodson

Occupation: Providing students with the best darn hotdogs, burgers, and lemonade in town.

Hometown: Tallahassee, FL

As a student here at Florida State University, it is likely that you pass by the quaint little hotdog shop, “Mom and Pops” on your way to class. It is famous around campus for the tasty snacks it provides students in between classes. You are also likely to be greeted by the smiling faces of those behind the counter. It is from those smiling faces that our days are made better instantly. The family run shops around campus are what we believe helps keep Florida State University feeling like a close-knit college, opposed to the large impersonal universities throughout the country. We had the opportunity to sit down with Carrie Woodson, the daughter-in-law of THE “Mom and Pop,” and ask her how this quaint little shop became what it is today.

Her Campus (HC) – How did Mom and Pop start this business and when?

Carrie Woodson (CW) – My mother in law got herself a folding table across from the Fine Arts Building, but because there is only one of us allowed on campus, she would go out there and squeeze her lemonade and FINALLY the guy in front of Strozier that was there, probably 18 years ago, quit and we were able to move on campus. I’ve been here for 10 years and they’ve been by Strozier for 16 or 17 years. And then we got one by the stadium which is now behind the Wellness Center, they moved us.

HC – Were they aware that it was going to be this popular?

CW – Oh, no I don’t think so. And back in the day Airmark took over the contract and they were going to shut us down, but the students all got together and…I think it was a demonstration, rumor has it, and we got to stay on campus. They were going to kick us off campus until people came together and lobbied against it. This is all before me. I wasn’t even married to my husband.

HC – So did you know about the Mom and Pop stand before you got married?

CW – When my husband and I started dating, my friends would ask me, ‘Oh is that the Mom and Pop lemonade and hotdog stand?’ and I was like, ‘I don’t know, I don’t think so,’ because I didn’t go here. And it was.

HC – So were you excited or shocked to get into the family business?

CW – I mean I was kind of thrown into it. I was a social worker for years at a non-profit organization, but that closed. So I was like, ‘Well I guess I’ll help you out here!’ So then I just fell into it.

HC – Well I know that my friend and I really enjoy coming here! We always look forward to seeing you because you’re just so sweet to us!

CW – Thank you! That means a lot to me, thank you!

HC – We’re just glad that you enjoy it, too.

CW – I really do!

HC – These are really the best hotdogs in town.

CW – Thank you! Yeah we run into people all over the country who know us by the Mom and Pop shops. My in-laws ran into people in either New York or California who love the shop. We even met these college students on a cruise to Mexico, who found out we run the shop and were so excited that they took a picture with us and posted it to Facebook!

HC – So are Mom and Pop still running it?

CW – Um, my father in law runs the one on Strozier and my mother in law opened a restaurant down the road off Mahan that’s called Ruby’s Diner. She is there primarily. They serve good home-cooked meals.

HC – What are your three tips for running a college campus business like this?

CW- Be friendly, engage in friendly conversation, personally I think it keeps me young. You know. Keep your prices down, because all y’all really want is a hotdog for two bucks. One of the things that a lot of people are happy about is that tax is included. They don’t have to do the math in their head so it makes it easier for them. I think just being laid back, easy-going, friendly. It keeps people coming back!

 

 

If you have not yet experienced the mouth-watering food of “Mom and Pops,” your taste buds don’t know what they’re missing. The shops can be found in many locations around campus including: just outside of Strozier, behind the Wellness Center, and next to Williams. So get out there and see what all the fuss is about, and say “Hi” to Carrie…she’d love to serve you!