MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The bond created between a mother and her child can be an incredibly special one, but it can be made even greater when you run a business with them. Such is the case with Raynico Threat and his mom Shunna Callicut.
The pair run Tactical Foam Combat in Bartlett and are in the business of having fun.
"He was a very fun kid—he loved to beat drums," Callicut said of a young Threat. "My mom actually bought him some drums and I made her leave them in her house."
Fun is never in short supply at Tactical Foam Combat. It's a "Nerf-style" battle arena. Think laser tag, but with foam dart blasters.
The idea came to Threat while he was having fun at sea.
"I used to work on cruise ships and worked on Carnival Cruise Line," Threat said. "We just did some Nerf battles, and I said 'It'd be cool to do something like this at home.'"
Naturally, like with any good idea, he brought it to his family. He pitched the idea to his mother and siblings.
The plan was for everyone to go into business together, but eventually just Threat and Callicut were left.
"Ray stuck to it," Callicut said. "He never let me live it down. He said, 'Mom let's go look at this building over here.' I'm like, 'oh, no, I've tried to talk him out of it but he wouldn't let me.’"
The pair opened the business in August 2021. Fast forward to March of this year and they’re off and running, but not without some hiccups now and then. Any good relationship has some head-butting along the way.
"We are two strong individuals, and she taught me to be this strong person—to speak my mind, to stand up for myself," Threat said. "That is where, you can say, if we bump heads, when we might bump. But it's never in a way that it's disrespectful and we can't come back together and say, 'Okay, let's get this thing together,'" Threat said.
The pair capitalize on their different skills. Callicut has a masters in accounting. She handles the finances and the bookings.
Threat handles the creative ideas. The mother and son were always tight-knit, but now they feel like they're always learning from each other.
"She's very strong and she's taught me to be strong. I get this strength from her and not worrying about what people say—what people think," Threat said.
"I think we're closer. I try to be close with all my children. But no, when we're (at Tactical Foam), we’re like this," Callicut said, crossing her fingers to indicate how tight they are.
Lessons for life soon become staples of business.
"I've taught him not to go by what someone says about a person learn them for yourself," Callicut said.
"She's always believed in me, and that's a key thing," Threat said. "Being a parent to believe in your child and encouraging them in something they want to do or see—she has done that for me."
Tactical Foam Combat is open mainly on the weekends and can be booked for parties and events. They can be found at 2810 Bartlett Road, Bartlett, TN 38134.