DOVER – The winners of the $ 20,000 Dover Launch business plan competition, Tory Welsh and Tobin Twelves, want to open an indoor golf course and multi-sport simulator in town.
“I think we can all agree that there is plenty to do in our area on a sunny day or a bluebird ski day no matter what that may be,” Twelves said during his presentation Thursday night at the final round of the contest. “And when it rains?” What about the sludge season? “
The married couple live in Wilmington. Twelves is a local real estate agent, general contractor, snowboard coach, and golf enthusiast. Welsh is an IT professional who works at Mount Snow Ski Resort in West Dover and enjoys skiing, hiking and reading.
They want to call their business The Dover Lounge. They estimate that their market is made up of about 4,000 local residents between Dover and Wilmington, and about 20,000 tourists annually. They expect to spend around $ 1,500 per month on an initial marketing effort with ads promoting midweek promotions to attract locals and weekend events to attract tourists.
They will need to raise around $ 500,000 in seed money. Their hope is to have four simulator bays and charge each customer $ 5 to play games that, in addition to golf, could include baseball, dodgeball, football, and soccer.
Twelves said the $ 20,000 will be used to make down payments or rent the simulators, outfit the space, cover construction costs or buy inventory.
“The key to winning this competition tonight is that it will show other investors and lenders the viability of our plan,” he said.
Their current plan would open the business by July 4. However, the couple said the plans would be revised in January based on investor interest.
“We’re going to hit hard,” Twelves told The Reformer, referring to the search for investors.
City staff will help the couple determine where to allocate the $ 20,000 and then provide the funds upon receipt of the bills. Part of the process involves renting or purchasing space in Dover.
After the competition opened in August, 13 applications were submitted. The other finalist who presented on Thursday was Dana Sorice, a human rights lawyer who lives in Dover with her husband Mark Sorice, a carpenter.
They want to bring go-carts to Dover.
“Our idea is very fluid,” said Dana. “We want a family entertainment center where everyone can come and bring the kids and race. And if you don’t like racing, you can play an arcade game. If you don’t like arcades, maybe you like pinball or ski ball or a climbing wall.
Similar to the winning proposal, the idea is to offer something to do on a day when outdoor activities are not on the agenda and would require a lot of funding.
“I’m not sure we’re looking for investors,” Dana said. “I’d rather sell a kidney first.”
Dana said the couple were “happy to call this place our home”.
“It was our dream,” she said, adding that the couple had raced karting years ago and thought it would make “a great deal”.
About 40 people attended Thursday’s event at the Carinthia Base Lodge in Mount Snow. Participants were able to ask questions during the presentations and speak privately with the finalists before the judges chose the winner, and then again afterwards.
Eric Durocher, Director of Economic Development for the City of Dover, said community members came to a brainstorming session at the end of August to discuss potential business ideas for the competition. . He predicts that some of these ideas may still become realities.
The city has programs and incentives “to start or grow your business here,” Durocher said. The information can be found at doververmont.com/economicdevelopment.
Mentors for contest entrants were Shelly Huber of Creatin ‘Business, Jim Verzino of Windham Grows, Gretchen Havreluk of Ingram & May Small Business Consulting, and Eyad Salha, Business Technical Support Provider at Brattleboro Development Credit Corp.
The contest judges included Paul Fisher, a Dover resident, Heather Kelly, co-owner of Dover-based Sticky Fingers Bakery, Tracy Bartels, general manager of Mount Snow, Brattleboro Development Credit Corp. Director of Business Acceleration and Community Capital Development RT Brown and Assistance Vice President of Commercial Banking Services at Brattleboro Savings & Loan Robert Davis.