Starting an Amusement Park
Interview with Ed Mumm, President of Dig This, LLC
Many a kid has dreamed of driving a bulldozer or excavator. Ed Mumm realized that those kids grow into adults who still dream of using heavy equipment. That realization lead him to create Dig This, a heavy equipment theme park.
Interview with Ed Mumm, President of Dig This.
Tell me about your current business. What are you doing exactly?
Dig This, in Steamboat Springs, CO, is America's first ever heavy equipment theme park where participants can command the controls of huge earth moving equipment in a very fun, safe, adult-sized sand box!
What were you doing before this, and is this your first business?
Before I started this business in 2007, I was a fencing contractor and reindeer rancher. This is not my first business.
How did you come up with your business idea?
I built a house 5 years ago and decided to do all the excavating work myself. After renting bulldozers and excavators and having spent a few days on these machines, I realized that if I was having this much fun, imagine those who would given the chance. Thus, Dig This was born!
Who did you hire to help you? Bookkeeper, Accountants, Lawyers ...? Would you suggest others do the same?
If you are lacking certain skills as I did then I suggest filling those gaps with qualified professionals. It helps give your business the right start. I hired consultants mainly and a PR person who I felt gave Dig This the start it needed. New businesses tend to make a lot of mistakes which can prove costly, so using help such as consultants, who have hopefully learnt from their own experiences, should steer a new business owner in the right direction.
What outside resources were helpful for you -- Business incubators, Chamber of Commerce, SCORE, etc.?
I used all of these resources. Also I had asked a group of friends who are successful business owners to join in on an occasional discussion group where I could run some ideas by them.
Green business is all the rage right now. Has it really been practical for you as an entrepreneur to incorporate green business practices?
Very important. We do all the obvious green practices such as recycling, but we also incorporate it into our programs such as a reclamation activity where the participant reclaims an excavated area.
Finding employees to work in a new and growing business can be a challenge. How did you find your employees?
Ironically enough we hired people with hardly any equipment skills or none at all. Our emphasis was mainly on those who have exceptional people skills. Training them to use the equipment for our application is easy. Given the economic climate and the availability of good employees, we have been able to find awesome people to fill all our positions.
What advice would you give to somebody else who wanted to start a similar business?
You have to be very passionate about the business and have the people skills that are required to give clients an unforgettable experience.
Thank you for spending time with me today, Ed. If I'm ever in Steamboat Springs, I'm definitely going to Dig This!
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