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Small Business Spotlight: Bruce Taylor Turns Wicked Cornhole Into A Family Enterprise

Dec 17, 2014 06:15AM ● Published by Bill Gilman

The staff of Wicked Cornhole. From left, Bruce Taylor, Christian Taylor, Amanda Taylor and Justin Hirsch.

Gallery: Wicked Cornhole is a family business [7 Images] Click any image to expand.

For 25 years, Bruce Taylor went to work and sat behind a desk in an office.
He decided that was about long enough.
In April, Taylor walked away from security and steady income and stepped out in faith -- faith in himself and his family. And faith that they could take a backyard game and turn it into a thriving business.
The result was Wicked Cornhole, 1875 2B Main Street, Tewksbury.
With wife Stacey handling the bookkeeping and office responsibilities, Bruce and his son Christian, with the help of family friend Justin Hirsch, craft cornhole boards and bags. Daughter Amanda, a gifted artist, handles the design and painting.
"We started it last year as kind of a hobby," said Bruce Taylor. "We put a couple of boards out on the lawn to sell and everyone started showing an interest."
Bruce admits he'd never actually played cornhole before building his first boards.
"We played backyard games. Ladder golf was a game we were really into," he said. "But then Christian said, 'hey, there's this game I think we can build. That started it."
For those unfamiliar with cornhole, the game is simple to learn and but difficult to master. The object is to toss a bag of corn kernels through a small hole on a slanted board about 33 feet away. The pitcher (player) throws four bags per inning (round). A bag through the hole is worth three points and a bag resting on the board is worth one point. The first to 21 points at the completion of an inning is the winner. The game can be played one-or-one or with teams of two.
The game has become extremely popular, so much so that there is now an American Cornhole Association that has crafted official rules and oversees national tournaments.
In September, a cornhole tournament was one of the featured attractions at the first Tewksbury Fall Harvest Festival. The boards for the event were provided by Wicked Cornhole.
While the design of a cornhole board is basic, the equipment can be customized, something Wicked Cornhole specializes in.
"We build a fairly simple product," said Bruce, who has only been practicing woodworking for a couple of years. "The specialty part comes from Amanda. She can create just about any design."
From school logos to animals and from favorite sports teams to animated characters, Amanda Taylor has shows the skill to give customers the precise personal design they are looking for. In some instances, she will utilize a pre-made design placed on the board with adhesive to augment her paint work.
"Back in April we made 13 or 14 sets just to put out on the lawn to sell. We only had a few different (designs)," said Bruce. "But we ran out so fast that we decided to give the customers a choice and they wanted and we could put it together in a week."
It became obvious fairly quickly that Wicked Cornhole was outgrowing the Taylor's home. In October, the company moved into a space at of 1875 2B Main St. In the new workshop, Wicked Cornhole has thrived, with the Taylors sometimes making more than two dozen cornhole game sets (two boards, eight bags) in a week. There is a steady mix of basic sets and custom orders.
Despite the company's growth, don't expect Taylor to build a factory anytime soon.
"It's out goal to stay small and humble," said Bruce, with a smile.
A handmade basic game set from Wicked Cornhole can cost $150-180, with custom sets running anywhere from $180-$250, depending on the design. There are also accessories available, such as LED lights for night games.
"We pride ourselves on (our games) being rugged and dependable," said Bruce. "We build them as affordable and durable as possible."


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