SUCCESS STORY FOR
Eric and Laressa McCarty of Paradise Acres
Eric and Laressa McCarty approached the Johnson City TSBDC in May 2020 seeking assistance with plans to open an entertainment venue. Along with their passion for building the local community, the McCartys have a wide range of entrepreneurial, marketing, and management experience. That includes starting and running their own businesses while simultaneously maintaining active roles in the local community over the past 25 years.
They identified a need in their area for relaxed and interactive family entertainment options. They also discovered the national trend toward people wanting to spend discretionary income on experiences, rather than things, along with a return to interactive activities. Their thorough research included industry and community studies and surveys, leading them to pursue the creation of a venue that would appeal to a wide range of ages. The TSBDC assisted the McCartys with reviewing their business plan and projections in preparation for funding.
Their TSBDC counselor “provided us with some valuable feedback on our business plan as we were looking for funding,” Eric McCarty said. “We were able to secure a loan shortly thereafter and were off to the races!” TDBDC also arranged for support with financial tracking and ongoing bookkeeping, with assistance from a local CPA firm.
In fall 2020, the McCartys finalized their plan and began construction. The final product is a premier family entertainment center/farm park with a natural-looking, 18-hole, outdoor miniature golf course acting as the initial anchor for other attractions, which include a drive-in theater, outdoor laser tag, and “U-Pick” produce area. Their venue also includes walking paths, hayrides, and a pumpkin patch.
The powerful quote from Eric McCarty says it best: “Almost a year into operation, we had an excellent opportunity to purchase additional acreage adjacent to our current property. But we needed up-to-date pro forma financials to approach a lender. The TSBDC connected us with a well-respected local CPA firm, who churned out solid reports quickly, at no cost to us. We were able to get a loan and buy the land, just as another buyer was making an effort to purchase the property. Our farm park grew from 16 to 24 acres less than a year in. That wouldn’t have happened without the timely assistance from TSBDC.”
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