Friends partner in Columbia business venture - Republic-Times | News

Friends partner in Columbia business venture

By on May 23, 2018 at 2:19 pm

Posed along a bridge that makes up part of the walkway for the mini golf course at J.B. Golf Tee in Columbia, from left, are business partners Chase Taake, Blake Holmes and Logan Taake. (Sean McGowan photo)

Three young men are breathing new life into the miniature golf course on the J.B. Golf Tee campus at 2400 Ramsey Road in Columbia.

Brothers Chase and Logan Taake and friend Blake Holmes, all of Columbia, brainstormed business ideas over breakfast last year when the inspiration hit for them to restore the course to its former glory. 

The business partners wanted to enable kids and families to enjoy a fun community activity. 

“We were just playing around, talking about starting a millionaire idea,” said Chase, a Columbia High School graduate. “And then we started talking about, ‘we have nothing fun in Columbia.’”

That led to them calling up J.B. Golf Tee owner Riley Lucas, who accepted their proposal off the bat. Lucas said he had the course open to the public last year but it is in need of an overhaul.

“They’re doing a great job so far. It’s been in need of these renovations for quite a while,” Lucas relayed.

As for Logan, a CHS junior, he said the course brings back fond memories from his childhood.

“We just remembered us doing that and how it was a ton of fun for us to have that kind of tradition for us to come up here … with our dad,” he explained. “And how I saw it was like maybe some other kids could have the same bond with their parents.”

Holmes, who is also a CHS junior, said he saw this as a unique opportunity to stand out from his peers.

“I wanted to do something that most people don’t do,” he explained. “And I see a big opportunity where we are now.”

Last summer, the crew started their work of fixing up the course but had to put their dream on hold when the school year started. They hope to see the course completed for a June 1 grand opening.

“June 15 at the very latest,” Logan added.

The project includes such work as setting up a new waterfall along the course and filling the pond with koi, adding a royal blue putting green for every hole, blacktopping the sidewalks and more. LED lighting will surround the pond. 

Additionally, tiki torches will illuminate the course for people wishing to play at night. 

“We’re still deciding on a theme for (the course), but we want a theme for it,” Chase said.

Holmes said it would likely consist of a jungle theme. On top of that, the trio will install obstacles for some of the holes.

Additional features of the mini golf course will include concessions and the ability for customers to book parties. 

In order to fund their venture, the young men required help from a lot of sponsors. A total of 18 local businesses put in $500 each to sponsor a hole along the course.

According to Chase, a sign at each hole will number the hole and include the sponsor’s name. Logan said some sponsors chose instead to donate labor and materials to the project or install benches with their company name.

In total, the business received $20,000 from these sponsors. Chase said that should be enough startup capital for the mini golf project.

“It will (fund the entire course) or really close to it,” Chase said. “And after we open, with the revenue we build, we can always add on.”

Eventually, the Taake brothers and Holmes will look to expand with such games as archery tag, which uses arrows with a soft tip. 

They named their business Sports Throne to allow for the flexibility to incorporate more activities.

“In the far, far future we want a new spot,” Chase included.

Holmes graduated from the Monroe County CEO program this year, and Chase is a 2017 program graduate.

“CEO absolutely helped with connections and things of that nature,” Chase said.

For more information on the business, go to Facebook.com/SportsThroneMC or call 618-719-7553.

Sean McGowan

Sean is a die-hard Cubs fan, despite the relentless peer pressure coming from the rest of the Republic-Times staff. He and his wife, Jacqui, have been married for two years. Originally from the west suburbs of Chicago, Sean and his wife moved down to Normal to attend Illinois State University and stayed central Illinois residents for the past four years. email:sean@republictimes.net