Triangle Spotlight: Cornhole Express

Published Wed, Oct 24, 2012 12:49 PM
Bookmark and Share
Cornhole Express provides bags, boards and everything you need for your game. Photo by Beth Mandel

Submitted by Melissa Howsam — Correspondent

Admit it. There’s just something soul soothing about bouncin’ around canvas bags of corn. Like you hadn’t lived, or truly tailgated, until the cornhole revolution. And, now, whether in your backyard, at the beach or tailgating all up and down Tobacco Road, you’ve got bag and board needs. Salvaging any worry you had about finding that perfect board or pickup game (the stress of the search can be so menacing — what with your uber-busy schedule … we know), enter local startup Cornhole Express, an online marketplace run mostly via social media, where customers can purchase or rent bags and boards (rentals start at $25 daily), find tourney info or grab some cornhole getup (tees run form $20-$30). And you’re keeping it local in the process. Score.

So who are the brains behind those bags? Longtime buds-turned-business partners B.J. Ward and Brandon Donahue, in whom a mutual love of tailgating, a shared goal of becoming successful entrepreneurs and the savvy to see a hole in the local cornhole retail market merged. And, as a result, the cornhole empire, the first of its kind in the area, was born circa early 2012.

“After seeing the growing interest in cornhole around Raleigh, and the lack of places to purchase cornhole sets, we decided to dive in,” said Ward. “We are striving for Cornhole Express to be one of the largest cornhole supply retailers in the nation and to be known as the place to find and participate in cornhole tournaments,” Donahue added. “We hope to grow our local partnerships with businesses, consumers and cornhole players, and to be the go-to spot for all aspects of the game of cornhole.”

But they’re not limiting themselves to the local market. Quickly picking up in popularity, the startup has already become a national supplier of cornhole products, apparel and accessories. With their MO — “Products. Rentals. Tournaments. We got it all!” — their agenda is clear. And there just isn’t anything ‘baggo’ they haven’t already wrangled the market on, including a diamond-plated board background. Yes, diamond. Talk about a board with bling. “There is no limit to the imagination our customers have,” says Ward. “As champions of creativity, we welcome all design ideas.” (Cornhole sets unfinished start at $85, painted sets at $129.99 and up — depending on design.)

And those looking to take their bagging skills beyond the garage or the tailgate can call on the Express for tourney management. “We provide and set up the equipment to meet cornhole rules and regulations, officiate the games, take pictures, and promote and run a professionally managed tournament bracket.” Translation, you get to focus on draining bags (and brews) while they worry with all those nitpicky details, like how many feet apart to place those boards.

Prices for such expert involvement, of course, vary (average at $200-$250). “Things such as single or double elimination, number of sets, location and potential turnout are all factors when we provide a price quote,” says Ward.

If you don’t feel popular enough to forge your own tourney team (it’s OK, you’ll get there), the duo also manages an ongoing monthly tourney in Northeast Raleigh at Brass Tap and Billiards and an after-work social tournament every first and third Friday at Lucky Bs downtown. Peeps looking to pick up a game can get the deets on the company’s Facebook and Twitter. “We try to encourage our customers to interact with us via social media and provide an easy-to-use website for finding all-things cornhole related.”

The bottom line? A bag and/or board that gives you a bang for your buck. “We want to provide customers with easy-to-purchase high-quality cornhole supplies at affordable prices,” Donahue says. “Our goal is to ensure folks have a great experience when playing in Cornhole Express-managed tournaments and enjoy the products we provide.”

Currently in the process of adding a new product catalog to their site and expanding their products to meet high demand, and having already enabled the biz to sell as a national retailer, the Express is clearly in the express lane to mastering the cornhole market.

“We’re hoping to be a household name — when customers think cornhole, they should think Cornhole Express,” Ward says.

Well, if this year’s success is any indication, their company may just be a game changer.

Visit them at cornhole-express.com, @RaleighCornhole, facebook.com/raleighcornhole or on their YouTube channel.

Images

Find out the latest events happening today in your area.

More

Check for showtimes of the newest releases.

More

Search local eateries by location, price and cuisine.

More