NUThin' but GOOD TIMES Succeeds By Using Advice From SCORE Mentor
It really is true that Mom knows best – in fact, sometimes she even knows better than the so-called “experts.” When stay-at-home Mom Lisa Campbell was developing her business concept for a safe, clean indoor playground in 2008, she encountered a lot of resistance from bankers, town officials and business professionals. Lisa sought the advice of SCORE and mentor Randy Roody after her bank rejected her initial application for a loan. But thanks to her vision, perseverance and three years of planning alongside her SCORE mentor, her dream came true in the form of NUThin’ but GOOD TIMES, a volcanic Caribbean island style indoor play area complete with play equipment, mazes and tunnels, in Merrimack, New Hampshire.
Built in a former skating rink facility, NUThin’ but GOOD TIMES is all about kids having fun and engaging in active play, in a safe and clean environment. The concept was an immediate hit with both parents and children. Parents are grateful for the café’s healthy food options with allergy alternatives (gluten-free, dairy-free and nut-free choices) while kids love attending NUThin’s birthday parties and events, family movie nights, free giveaway days, weekend family events and educational programs. “The business is still evolving every day,” noted Lisa during a recent interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We’ve added a ceramics night, live theater, tween concerts, and are starting to host school functions,” she said. They also host various community events including Law Enforcement Appreciation Weekend, Firefighter Appreciation Weekend and Military Appreciation Weekend, and plans are in the works to aid autism causes and the Special Olympics. She now employs a full staff of 13 — a manager, a supervisory crew to watch the kids, and a kitchen staff. Lisa said NUThin’ is on track to almost triple its first-year projections, and she is beginning to think about expanding.
From 2008 through the business opening in 2011, Lisa and SCORE mentor, Randy Roody, met regularly, fleshing out the concept for the business, and working on everything from preparing a business plan to developing budgets and projecting cash flow, all while designing the actual play structures and looking for the right location. It was a thorough and smart business plan that eventually convinced the bank her idea had potential thus securing the loan she needed to get the ball rolling.
Lisa found a workshop called “Starting Your Own Business” at SCORE’s Southern New Hampshire chapter to be very helpful in getting her idea off the ground. She also used several SCORE templates, including a cash flow projection sheet, to help create and guide her business plan.