Lack of parking makes local business scoot

Posted by Dan Whisenhunt August 25, 2014
The Twist 'n' Scooot in Decatur, which will soon close due to a lack of parking. Source: Google Maps

The Twist ‘n’ Scoot in Decatur, which will soon close due to a lack of parking. Source: Google Maps

Twist ‘n’ Scoot has announced it will be closing its Decatur location at the end of this week and says a lack of parking is a big reason it’s leaving the city.

Owner Bill Gornto told Decaturish that all operations will be moved to the company’s Midtown Atlanta location. Gornto said things were nice and quiet when the company opened its second location in Decatur along W. Ponce de Leon Avenue in 2008. But over the years the increase in customers of other businesses around Twist ‘n’ Scoot’s Decatur location has squeezed out many of its customers. .

“The number of tenants that are in that building and Dancing Goats, it’s choking us, in so many words,” Gornto said. “There’s no parking. There’s no place for our customers anymore.”

Visitors to that area know all too well that parking can be scarce as customers of the coffee shop and the yoga studio tend to take up many of the spaces. Gornto said the yoga studio recently expanded, which has only made things more challenging.

“You have people call the owner up and say, ‘I can’t even park to buy something,'” Gornto said.  “Again, we love Decatur, there’s nowhere else to go. We’ve run out of room.”

Gornto said the company will only be five miles away and there are plans to expand that store.

Lyn Menne, Decatur’s Assistant City Manager for Community and Economic Development, said she wasn’t aware that parking had become an issue for the business.

“That kind of parking tends to turn around fairly quickly in those locations,” she said. “If he had contacted us, we would’ve been happy to find another location in downtown.”

Menne said she would reach out to Gornto to see if there’s any way to address the issue.

h/t Decatur Metro

About Dan Whisenhunt

Dan Whisenhunt is editor and publisher of

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  • TimW

    You would think a lack of parking would be great marketing for a scooter business.

    (Also, there is an extra O in scooter in the photo caption: “Twist ‘n’ Scooot”)

  • AReader

    It seems a bit odd a business owner would give up on a location so quickly because of parking without trying to work with the city first. Perhaps there are other reasons they’re leaving Decatur.

  • gburdell

    If they had a 50% off sale I bet people would find a way to park. 🙂

  • City of Decatur Scooter Mom

    I just bought a scooter from them specifically so I could have it serviced close to home without the need to drive it down Ponce into Atlanta. Yuck. I’m very upset.

  • DecaturMom

    I think that perhaps there is more to this story…seems very strange that a business would just close it’s doors without consulting the city to discuss options….I think maybe it makes more sense to consolidate into a single midtown location but I don’t think it’s as simple as parking. I agree that the lot is full frequently when yoga is happening BUT there is a great deal of street parking at that end of Ponce and as the owner of a scooter store that would be my main slogan “see how hard it is to park, buy a scooter”

  • Geoff

    is always an easy scapegoat when a business shuts down. Somehow I doubt
    that more car parking would have led to more scooter sales. If you have
    a good business with a product that is in demand, customers will show
    up and buy, regardless of the parking
    situation. This is proven over and over again in downtown Decatur. In
    fact, the story proves that all of this business’ neighbors do quite
    well with the same parking situation. Clearly parking is not the
    make-or-break variable at this location. Doesn’t make any sense to try
    to spin it that way.

    • bluesman101

      I tend to agree. I’m a regular customer of Twist & Scoot. But since I already have a scooter, I just go there for service and to buy oil. I’m almost always the only person in the store. I’ve never seen or heard of anyone actually buying a scooter there.

      I suspect the problem is that scooters just aren’t as popular in Decatur as T&S thought they’d be. Emory students and midtown types are their main customer base in Atlanta. Decatur remains SUV with a baby-in-the-back territory.

  • blackbird13

    Seriously? A store that sells scooters can’t make it because of a lack of parking for cars?! Not buying that one at all. Of all the places in Decatur, with the possible exception of bike stores, wouldn’t a scooter dealer’s customer base be the least deterred by a lack of parking?

  • Chris Billingsley

    “Why didn’t he just contact us? How could he not know that we’re the experts and can solve any problem.” Not an exact quote but fair enough for a hateful conservative like myself.
    Now I have a lot of respect for Ms. Menee. She is an outstanding employee who has served Decatur for many years with distinction but this attitude, that government employees know what is best for business people and property owners, is something I’ve witnessed over the last several months when dealing with the united ordinance proposal. A business owner, someone that has invested maybe thousands of dollars in a Decatur location hoping to make money the good old fashion way, sooner or later realizes that it’s time to cut bait and leave. Maybe the problem is parking but it could be something else. Decatur is all about bars and restaurants. Sure there are a few places like the CVS complex that is lucky enough to have parking but we won’t see another development like that again. Everything in the future will be carefully planned and regulated by staff members at city hall. And it will get even worse for some business owners when Church Street is narrowed to limit traffic.
    Sorry to rant on about something I know little about. I was hoping to spend time formulating a comment for the upcoming diversity summit but as Rhett Butler once said, “Maybe tomorrow will be a better day”.

    • Sine qua non

      FYI, it’s “Ms. Menne” not Menee.

    • TOK


      Huh? I didn’t see any such “attitude,” and your paraphrase is totally unfair to Ms. Menne. She’s saying that she hadn’t been aware of the parking concern, and she wishes the owner had reached out to her so that they could have had a discussion about his concerns and see if they could find a way of addressing them while keeping his business in Decatur. And you interpret that as an “government knows best” attitude and an example of Decatur central planning…?

      • underscorex

        Forget it, Jake. It’s Planet Billingsley.

  • dwarf

    Decatur needs something like this…
    …and maybe a series of rickshaws.

  • Mason

    The lack of parking argument makes some sense to me. I actually own a scooter and have had to transport it to Twist & Scoot in the back of a pickup truck for repairs when it wouldn’t start. So I had to park reasonably close to the store in order to unload the scooter and drop it off. As far as the comments by the Decatur official that she believes parking in that area generally has a quick turn around, I have not found that to be the case, especially with Dancing Goats. My experience has been that people drive to Dancing Goats in the early morning and park and then go inside and set up their “laptop office” and stay for hours and hours, milking a single cup of coffee while they take advantage of the free wi-fi and answer email or post to FB.

  • Peripatetian

    Although I agree that a shortage of parking does not seem like the only factor, I have heard other business owners in that area complain about the parking situation, so I can believe it was a contributing factor. I think that was also one of the reasons Watershed gave when that business left Decatur. Under the old parking ordinances, business owners regularly requested and received variances from their parking requirements. I imagine all of the businesses in that area offer far fewer parking spaces than the old ordinances would have required and that the collective deficit is significant. Just check the signs to see how protective they all are of the on-site spaces they have.
    And I don’t know where all of the on-street parking is that someone mentions. West Ponce has very few nearby spaces and most are usually filled. Most on-street parking on Northern and Fairview is reserved for residents.

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