The 14-year-old boy runs a successful chili food truck in the Las Vegas Valley

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What did you do when you were 14?

La’rell Wysinger started a grocery store in his grandmother’s driveway when he was 12 years old. Over the past two years, during the pandemic, high school freshmen’s driveway snacks have become a popular chili cupcake devotee.

He’s a translator, big brother and teenage entrepreneur. Wysinger, now 14, owns and operates the Chily Barkers food trailer. It’s a nonstop hotspot for chili cupcakes: tiny cornbread cakes topped with homemade chili, sour cream, cheese, and spring onions. It’s a family business, but the western high school freshman is the boss.

“That’s exactly what I’ve been praying for; You know? Myself and my mom make a point of praying and manifesting and speaking positivity. Whenever we speak, we say we’re going out. We’ll get it,” Wysinger said.

Tatiana Easley, his mother, said his pocket money wasn’t enough so he wanted to pursue his own thing.

“I tell him I’m very proud of him every day because I think at 14 I was chasing boys and trying to do things other than a business… I’m just really proud of him,” she said.

So Easley went with us straight away. Well, she drove because Wysinger isn’t old enough to get his driver’s license. He started developing the cornbread concept when he was just 12 years old. Once happy with the taste, mom and son began selling his after-school snacks in his grandmother’s driveway in California and sharing delicious posts on social media.

“One person blew it up at home. And then everyone went up. And we had the whole street blocked off with a line full of cars,” Easley said.

When the family moved to Las Vegas, they invested in a trailer and converted it themselves. It’s a busy teenage life running a business, but Wysinger’s parents insist he only works weekends and stays on the AB honors roll at school.

“Honestly we made sure not to overload him because initially he wanted to do Monday to Sunday. And I said, ‘You need to take a break!’ So we made sure school was first,” Easley said.

That was a big theme for Wysinger’s “Career Day” speech at the 100 Academy of Excellence in North Las Vegas. The director, dr. Thursenia DeHart-Porter asked the young business owner to speak at her engineering and technology school in hopes of inspiring kids to dream big.

“You know, they’ve been very vocal about it. “You know, Dr. Porter, he’s one of us. We can do this. Look what he did.’ And then he went on to say it wasn’t an easy road, but he stayed the course. And he told them it’s a lot of hard work and you have to focus. Now I have many of our students walking around. You now want to become an entrepreneur. you feel it. They know this is something they can do because they saw it… And we so appreciated his coming,” DeHart-Porter said.

Wysinger admits he was a bit worried when he gave a speech on economics to eighth-grade kids, some of whom in the audience were just a year younger than him, but he also understands the gravity of his unique position.

“Very important because there are a lot of pictures… [of] Black men, especially black young men, as we are rowdy or ghetto or uneducated. I just think that’s who I am today and people actually see me…especially the younger kids. Being a role model is so important to me,” he said. “I think that gives them hope, because whenever you see someone doing something bigger than you can imagine they’re even doing…since I’m a black male and only see myself young…those two categories have me.” already one step ahead. And that’s just amazing. It gives them hope and just tries to keep moving forward so I can encourage younger generations like this to not just be entrepreneurs but just pursue whatever dream you have. Be an athlete, an artist, a singer, a dancer. Just follow your dream.”

He is looking forward to his future in the grocery store. The professional teenage chef continues to learn new cooking techniques in his high school cooking program and already has some gigantic expansion goals.

“He said he wants to do a franchise and grow between five and 10 years. It’s not just the food truck. I thought a franchise? I thought that was a lot, but he sees it. So I’m going to go and make sure it’s done the same way it was done with the trailer,” Easley said.

“My mom first of all… she’s my manager, my mom, and my 100 percent helper. So my motivation comes from my family. And I think if you don’t have the motivation or the right people behind you… support… you won’t have a sense of it… a lot of people need that nudge from someone else to tell them to get out of their comfort zone and go. A lot of people don’t have that,” he said.

You can find the food trailer schedule and locations by following Wysinger’s Instagram: @chilybarkers.

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