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May 17, 2013

Thomas Straus: Utilize Your Facility’s Other Services to Drive Revenue and Events

Thomas-StrausThomas Straus is the owner of Broadway Driving Range and Miniature Golf in Depew, N.Y, voted the 2012 Small Business of the Year by the Cheektowaga (N.Y.) Chamber of Commerce.

Thomas Straus on the importance of utilizing your facility’s other services to drive revenue and events:
I built my facility in pieces, and when I built our mini-golf course I thought no one would utilize both the range and mini-golf on the same visit; I was completely wrong. It was at about that time when I realized that I had an opportunity to utilize the mini-golf course in more of the activities that we run. It’s been a gigantic success. Run by both myself and various charities that we allow to come in, we have various events on the course. That includes tournaments that we open up to the whole family, with entry fees anywhere from $10-20 and with first-place prizes netting upwards of $150. We also offer food & beverage, raffles, and other benefits, including the hope that the money we award in the 15-and-under age group be spent on school supplies. The event brings people to our property that may have never seen it before, allowing them to see that we also boast an ice cream shop and gift shop that they can use even if golf isn’t on the day’s docket. And the charities are happy too, as we’ve helped them raise tens of thousands of dollars over the last eight years. As a big supporter of a family atmosphere and being a business that has numerous family fun nights, we’ve seen this as a way to be charitable, give back to our community, but also help our facility and our own bottom line at the same time.

Thomas Straus on the business impact of utilizing your facility’s other services to drive revenue and events:
The mini-golf course is more profitable and brings in more dollars than my practice range, roughly 15 percent more annually in fact, and it’s had a positive effect of helping our entire facility. Our practice range has nearly doubled its sales since 2002, helped by a lot of promotion over that span. We added mini-golf in 2004 and it has seen approximately four percent growth each year. And since we began the charity events in 2006 it’s helped that growth even further. Being in the Buffalo metro area, we have a relatively short season. Our range opens in March and our mini-golf runs from mid-April through about October 1, but smart marketing, promotion, and popular events have helped to grow our business nicely even with those limitations. Merely building the mini-golf course increased my practice range business more than 30 percent, and I shudder to think how poorly my ice cream stand would do without the practice range and mini-golf course being right there. The mini-golf course has helped our foot traffic, as I’ve observed that there’s usually one person in a car when they arrive to just hit balls, but two to six people when the mission is mini-golf. It’s all been a huge success for us with new customers, making that short season ever brighter.