I’ve covered some very interesting businesses in my time with Business Pulse, but perhaps the most fun I’ve covered came this week.
Tell me what it is
Chris Gross has entered the business world in a new way, introducing Warren County to a business model that, to my knowledge, has not existed here before.
Game of Throws is Chris’ mobile ax throwing business. There’s a primal thrill in throwing a sharp object and having it hit a satisfying “kachunk” on a target and Chris hopes to capitalize on that thrill. He took the rather rudimentary idea of throwing an ax at a board and elevated it into a high-tech experience that will add life to any party or event. Setting it up is a sleek looking heated trailer with graphics that he would like to thank Signs by Genia for. Inside are projectors that shoot a wide variety of targets onto the wooden blocks.
When asked what led him to take up ax throwing as a business, Chris replied, “I thought about what the city needed when I was thinking about making money for myself instead of working for someone else. At first I thought about batting cages.” and then I started thinking about an entertainment center for the whole family that might have ax throwing and an arcade but I didn’t know how to start that’s a lot of money then I found out you could get ax throwing trailers for a price much more affordable.”
Chris bought his trailer 34 days ago, so his business is new but already attracting customers. “I did a wedding and we did the Jack Daniels kitchen.”
I can attest to the fun found in throwing an ax at a projected image of a zombie. My wife, Ashley, asked me to come along for this interview just out of curiosity and I found out that she is much more adept at throwing deadly objects than I am and she had a lot more fun doing it than she expected.
And it’s not just axes. Chris also offers throwing knives and stars. Throwing stars are popular with aspiring child ninjas because they generally stick to the target more easily than an axe. And, because his targets are from a computer-controlled projector, he can offer a variety of games like Connect Four, Tic-Tac-Toe, Duck Hunt, and others.
If you want to give it a try, Chris has a reasonable pricing system. “When I set up at an event, the prices are $1 per release, $5 for seven releases, or $10 for 15 releases. You can also rent the entire trailer for a party or event for $300 for two hours and $100 for every hour after that. “
A waiver is required for willing participants. Chris has a handy QR code that takes you to his Game of Throws McMinnville Facebook page, where he can sign a waiver while he waits his turn.
Chris is a lifelong resident of McMinnville for whom the entertainment business comes naturally. “My great-grandfather was Winton Brown of Brown’s Amusement. My grandfather had a satellite business and so did my father. I just try to make entertainment like them,” Chris said. You can reach him at (931) 314-2074.
Chris said his goal is to be a millionaire in seven years. If the experience Ashley and I had while playing Game of Throws is any indication, she may be on to something.
a taste of the west
On Friday, the downtown shopping area got a little more western with the opening of Jennifer Launius’s business, The Western Farmgirl.
Jennifer and her husband, Kevin, have been living in McMinnville for the last four years and for the last two years she has been running an online business selling her arts and crafts. The online business was doing so well that she started thinking about the next step, which she took to her physical store at Kimmi’s Tea Room’s former home, 110 N. Spring St.
“I started crafting four years ago and what started out as fabric pumpkins turned into woodworking and wood signs, and I found my calling with western theme because that’s who I am,” said Jennifer. “Moving into the store motivated me to expand the boutique. There aren’t a lot of bohemian, western-style things offered downtown.”
Despite her obvious Western leanings, Jennifer was born and raised in central Ohio, but her upbringing as a farmer comes through in her shop. “I grew up on a farm and have been showing and riding horses since I was three years old,” she told Jennifer. “Now my husband and I and our two children have a farm in Centertown with four horses, two cows and chickens.”
The store offers a variety of items, including home decor, clothing, jewelry and more, all with a distinctly western and farmhouse style. Jennifer creates many of the items herself and also strives to support other women-owned small businesses through the other products the store offers.
As The Western Farmgirl gets underway, the store’s initial hours are Thursday 12:00-5:00 and Friday and Saturday 10:00-4:00, but Jennifer says that may change with holidays and business growth.
Jennifer is assisted in the store launch by her friend Andie Stansberry. “She’s my best friend and my saving grace. I couldn’t do this without her. She helped me do everything to get set up. She’s been doing everything with me since I announced I was launching the store,” said Jennifer.
You can find more at thewesternfarmgirl.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Tik Tok.
Until next time,
same business time,
same business page
As always, if you have business advice, let me hear it at [email protected] and (931) 473-2191.
And thanks once again to our fantastic sponsor Ben Lomand Connect.