Small Biz Updates and Sports/Recreation and Small Business and Sports Business

Playground installation biz travels further to find clients

CHILD'S-PLAY

March 30, 2009

UPDATE
CHILD'S-PLAY


Address: 12653 Mead Court, Fishers
Phone: 579-6873
E-mail: childs.play@sbcglobal.net
Web site: www.cpi-childsplay.com
Founded: 2003
Founders/owners: Marty and Chirita Bloyd
Product: commercial playground and park equipment
Employees: three
Revenue (past 12 months): $1.15 million
Date of first profile: March 13, 2006

For Marty Bloyd, playtime is serious business, now more than ever.

The residential construction crunch has had a significant effect on a variety of fields, among them playground installation, and even bunkered in his home office nestled in the Britton Ridge subdivision in Fishers, Bloyd has felt it. However, he points to the fact that his business is still up and running despite this setback as testament to his management skills and adaptability.

"It's a matter of where you have to go to get work," Bloyd admitted.

Indeed, he didn't have to look farther than his own subdivision and those surrounding it for business in his company's fledgling years. But now, trips out of town—if not out of state—are almost a given. Work in the Evansville area is common, and jobs in Cincinnati and Chicago are becoming more frequent.

His business hasn't just changed location, there has also been a shift in the type of work he's doing. Instead of primarily furnishing areas under construction, Child's-Play is replacing or maintaining existing equipment. There is also much more of a focus on installing picnic shelters and benches than in previous years, though these are not new services to Child's-Play. Bloyd also has trimmed his staff by one and is using temporary labor as needed.

Bloyd noticed the market starting to change last August—the beginning of his usual busy season—when jobs quickly dwindled into scarcity, and competition for those remaining skyrocketed. He noted that he was one of only three bidders for an Indianapolis job in early 2008, but for a recent, similar project, he became one of nine.

Child's-Play suffered only an approximate 10-percent loss in revenue for 2008, but when weighed against the company's previously steady 25-percent annual growth, it dealt a financial blow. It called for a re-evaluation of business practices and a focus on controlled, "timely" growth so Bloyd can deliver exactly what he promises.

Tempering his practicality with a healthy amount of optimism, Bloyd prefers to look at the economic downturn as an opportunity. Particularly, he believes it will lead to fewer vacationing families and more children looking for local entertainment.

"Kids are always going to play," Bloyd said, "and parents will always want to see their kids having a good time."

He just hopes they'll be doing so on his equipment.

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