Startup and Small Business

Basketball business shoots for custom market

June 29, 2009

Hoop World


Type of business: basketball flooring and equipment sales and maintenance

Address: 14076 Britton Park Road, Fishers

Phone: 770-5550/(800) 838-4667

E-mail: info@hoop-world.com

Web site: www.hoop-world.com

Founded: January 2008

Owner: J.D. Allen

Owner's background: Allen, 46, grew up in Bloomington with an unfaltering love for basketball. After graduating from Indiana University with a business marketing degree, he saw every reason to combine his education and his passion in a home business. "I'm a Hoosier at heart," Allen said. "I grew up in Indiana and always loved [basketball]."

Why started business: Besides his nearly two decades of experience in the sports flooring and equipment field, Allen's decision to open Hoop World was in reaction to the closing of another, similar store: Hoosier Hoops in Castleton. Allen hoped to fill the gap left by that store's closing.

Competitive advantage: Allen understands that anyone can go to a Dick's Sporting Goods or other such chain store for their basketball needs, but he also knows one can't find custom sports flooring and home-installation service there and believes the appeal of having a personal court at home sets him apart. Hoop World employees also personally handle installation of home equipment, making communication between customer and business more direct.

Startup cost: $50,000

Funding source: personal funds

Projected first-year revenue: $525,000

Potential problem and contingency plan: Despite the weak economy and considerable competition from larger chain stores, Allen believes tenacity and advertising will help him thrive. Hoop World is now developing direct-mail materials. The fact that Hoop World is often contracted by bigger businesses to oversee home installations (which they don't offer) is also beneficial.

First-year goal: "Sell one goal a day" was the simple answer from Allen, which would equate to roughly $525,000 in annual revenue. He also plans to take advantage of local publicity opportunities and expand the Hoop World Web site.

Five-year vision: Allen has set his sights on opening stores throughout the metropolitan area.

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