By Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development
Winston, Douglas County | Region 3
Memorial Day marked the unofficial beginning of summer, and people took to the roads in droves to visit the beach, lakes, mountains or maybe a quick trip to grandma’s house. No matter where people went, they were looking for the same thing: fun in the sun!
And one of the hottest outdoor games around is cornhole. You know the game. A bunch of folks of all ages divided up into teams of two, throwing bean bags at boards 27 feet apart. Many stores sell stock sets, but West Georgia Cornhole (WGC) decided they wanted their customers to stand out from the crowd.
The Winston-based business creates high quality custom cornhole boards for everyone to enjoy. Building on their mission of creating outdoor enjoyment one board at a time, Brandon Greba and the WGC team provides excellent customer service and strict attention to detail.
WGC began as a hobby in 2008 and grew to a home business in 2013. They quickly scaled into a manufacturing operation in 2014. Sales are generated through the company’s website, Etsy shop and social media, which have allowed the company to reach customers across the globe. From each customer’s request, WGC creates designs, handcrafts each and every board and sews each and every toss bag. All this is possible with 20 hardworking employees.
Needless to say, direct sales to the customer have been phenomenal. Sales grew 200 percent from 2013 to 2014. The next year, sales grew 100 percent, and the company continues strong growth projections for this year at 75 percent.
The current size of their facility limits the number of orders that can be produced and shipped each week. But WGC is constantly making improvements to innovate, create efficiencies and expedite orders, all without sacrificing the quality of their products.
In addition to cornhole boards, WGC creates many exciting products including giant connect four games; six pack bottle holders; wine racks; custom wooden monograms; name, state or flag-inspired signs; printed cornhole wraps and much more.
Being involved throughout the community is important to the WGC team. They’ve provided cornhole board sets to help generate funds and donations for various organizations located throughout the area. WGC also sets up and provides the cornhole boards and toss bags for the Douglas County Young Professionals Connection annual cornhole board tournament.
“[Georgia is a great place for business] because of our proximity to Atlanta, which is a major city that produces business opportunities and allows for quick shipping of our products.” –Brandon Greba, Owner & Operator, West Georgia Cornhole
“We are also located near a large college which is a great resource for part and full-time employees,” he said.
Although they are now experiencing great success, WGC had to overcome many challenges. In the beginning, manufacturing was constrained by what could be produced in Brandon’s garage. As the company grew into a formal manufacturing space, the facility had to be set-up to optimize the manufacturing floor. The company had to hire more employees, provide for training and learn how new equipment and software worked together for production.
Even with these challenges, Brandon says it’s all been worth it. Some of the most rewarding moments are “being able to see the employees make a living for themselves and their family, and being able to see and share awesome reviews and stories after customers receive their order.”
Brandon also has some advice for budding entrepreneurs. “Don’t be afraid of hard work and long nights, all while trusting in others to help get the job done,” he says. “Spend money wisely, don’t be afraid to fail and learn from every mistake; keep up with your competition and constantly try and innovate.”
And innovate they have. WGC continues to add to their line of custom products, which now include several NCAA school license deals. The company continues to pursue additional schools and branding opportunities. And Brandon is also exploring additional retail outlets and will hopefully open a tailgating brick and mortar store in the near future.
So grab your friends, cooler and cornhole boards, and get ready to throw a few games. Just be sure to keep it friendly and use the best from West Georgia Cornhole!
Got a Small Business question? Start the conversation! Contact Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development, at (229) 868-3428 or [email protected].