Tuesday, August 21, 2018

An Adult’s Playground: Extreme Sandbox

For those of you who have read my previous posts, you’ll know I’m constantly in search of new activities to try. That’s why, while watching a Shark Tank rerun at the gym one evening earlier this year, I knew I (or someone close to me) had to give Extreme Sandbox a try.  

Extreme Sandbox is an adult playground. Located in Hastings, Extreme Sandbox provides an opportunity to play on 10 acres of sand by renting and operating heavy industrial equipment, such as a skid steer, bulldozer, excavator, or other large “toy.” You can even choose to crush a car. Packages are available for individuals, small groups, and corporate outings, and keep your eye out for special offers.  

Randy Stenger, the company’s CEO, was born and raised in Wisconsin and previously worked as a retail consultant. His kids provided the inspiration for Extreme Sandbox, which he refers to as a “heavy equipment adventure company” and a “bucket list experience.” In the company’s initial three years (2012–2015), it did $1M in sales, and when Randy’s appearance on Shark Tank aired in early 2016, he said that at least $500K in sales was expected for the year. 

On Shark Tank, Randy was seeking $150,000 in exchange for a 15% interest in the company. He ultimately reached a “handshake deal” for the $150,000 from Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary in exchange for a 20% interest in the company. Since Shark Tank, Extreme Sandbox announced an equipment sponsorship with Komatsu America, opened its second location in Pottsboro, Texas, opened a “mini” sandbox experience in Roseville, Minnesota, and started offering a Construction Camp to students ages 14 to 20 who are interested in careers in equipment operation and repair. 

As for my experience at Extreme Sandbox: a one-hour adventure on the excavator turned out to be the perfect birthday present for my (hard-to-buy-for) husband. He was truly surprised and had a great time. As for me, getting to watch and interact with both him and the instructor through headsets during the experience was pretty entertaining too. Even though we visited in the summer, the sandbox is open year-round. So if you’re looking for a truly unique activity, and witnessing an entrepreneurial vision that has come to life, you have to check out Extreme Sandbox!

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