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Business Pulse - If you've got an axe to grind, throw it
Axe overview.jpg
Chris Gross' new business, Game of Throws, offers the fun of axe throwing in a high-tech, heated trailer that can be moved anywhere.

I've covered some pretty cool businesses in my time with Business Pulse, but maybe the most fun one I've covered came this week.


Axe me what it is

Chris Gross has entered the business world in a novel way, introducing Warren County to a business model that, to my knowledge, hasn't existed here before.

Game of Throws is Chris' mobile axe-throwing business. There's a primal thrill in throwing a sharp object and having it stick with a satisfying "kachunk" into a target and Chris is hoping to cash in on that thrill. He's taken the pretty rudimentary idea of throwing an axe at a board and elevated it to a high-tech experience that will add life to any party or event. His set up is in a snazzy-looking heated trailer with graphics he'd like to thank Signs by Genia for. Inside are projectors that shoot a wide variety of targets onto the wooden blocks.

When asked what prompted him to aim at axe throwing as a business, Chris replied, "I thought about what the town 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 a whole family entertainment center that could have axe 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 axe throwing in trailers much more affordably."

Chris bought his trailer 34 days ago, so his business is brand new but he's already attracting customers. "I did one wedding and we did the Jack Daniels cook off." 

I can attest to the fun found from slinging an axe at a projected picture of a zombie. My wife, Ashley, asked to tag along for this interview just out of curiosity and I discovered she's much more adept at throwing deadly objects than I am and had far more fun doing it than she expected.

And it's not just axes. Chris also offers throwing knives and stars. The throwing stars are popular with would-be ninja children because they usually stick to the target easier than an axe. And, because his targets are from a computer-controlled projector, he can offer a variety of games such as Connect Four, Tic-Tac-Toe, duck hunt and others.

If you'd like to take a stab at it, Chris has a reasonable pricing system. "When I'm set up at an event, prices are $1 per throw, $5 for seven throws or $10 for 15 throws. You can also rent the whole 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 a waiver can be signed while you wait for your turn. 

Chris is a lifelong McMinnville resident to whom the entertainment business comes naturally. "My great grandfather was Winton Brown of Brown's Amusement. My grandfather had a satellite business and my father did as well. I'm just trying to do entertainment like they did," Chris said. He can be reached at (931) 314-2074.

Chris said his goal is to be a millionaire in seven years. If the experience Ashley and I had while taking part in Game of Throws is any indication, he may be right on target. 


A taste of the west

Friday saw the downtown business area get just a tad more western with the opening of Jennifer Launius' 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 a business online selling her crafts and handiwork. The online business was going so well, she began thinking about the next step, which led to her brick and mortar store at the former home of Kimmi's Tea Room, 110 N. Spring St.

"I started crafting four years ago and what started out as fabric pumpkins turned into woodworking and wooden signs, and I found my calling with the western theme because that's who I am," Jennifer said. "Moving to the storefront motivated me to expand the boutique. There's not a lot of western-style boho things offered downtown."

Despite her obvious western leanings, Jennifer was born and raised in central Ohio but her farmgirl raising comes through in her store. "I grew up on a farm and I've been showing and riding horses since I was three," Jennifer said. "Now my husband and I and our two boys 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 farm feel. Jennifer creates many of the items herself and also strives to support other female-owned small businesses through the other products the store offers. 

As the The Western Farmgirl gets going, initial store hours are Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but Jennifer says that may change with holidays and as the business grows. 

Jennifer is assisted in launching the store by her friend Andie Stansberry. "She's my best friend and my saving grace. I could not do this without her. She's helped me do everything getting set up. She's been doing everything with me since I announced I was launching the store," Jennifer said.

You can find more at thewesternfarmgirl.com and on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Tik Tok. 

Until next time,

Same biz time,

same biz page

As always, if you have business tips, let me hear them at editor@southernstandard.com and (931) 473-2191. 

And thanks once again to our terrific sponsor Ben Lomand Connect.