Hick’s Place is an outdoor activity and event center. They are located just off the back roads in NE Iowa where they live, farm, and raise natural beef and their family.
Jenni and Troy (Hick) Stevenson have a very unique property. They both wanted to create a place where people could connect with Mother Nature and one another.
“One day, our sons were headed off to the woods on the Southside of our pond to play Army. That simple idea sparked the idea for the creation of Hick’s Place,” said Jenni.
They offer many different adventures including:
• laser tag in the woods,
• agricultural programs,
• kids camps,
• community and
• corporate team building outings,
• along with full grounds (park) rentals.
“We also host an Annual Family Military Appreciation Day event. We have involved our entire family in the operation of Hick’s Place,” said Jenni.
“We started our research three years ago. We knew that we needed equipment that could be self-sufficient on 5 acres in the woods, tough enough to handle 5-year-olds, yet have enough programming options for our local military to use. I created vision tours and asked local business owners and friends out to our acreage to explain our dream and how to make it a reality. We found that there was only one company that could meet all of our needs. That company was Battlefield Sports, and their Battlefield LIVE gaming. We invested our entire savings, it just had to work, and it had to last for many years to come. Battlefield Sports offered outreach for help with the equipment, marketing, collaboration with other owners, and so much more at no additional cost. It was just part of being Battlefield Sports Operators,” said Jenni.
Before launching Hick’s Place Adventures Jenni was a business consultant who helped others create their businesses including policy and procedures, marketing, branding, hiring, and more, so our new business adventure was the perfect combination of our life’s work and past experiences including managing children’s programs and prior military services.
Troy aka Hick had been an outdoorsman and continues to be so. He really enjoys teaching children how to hunt and fish and experience Mother Nature and all that she has to offer.
“To launch a new and unique business, you need to let people know where you are located and what you have to offer. Year one, we did a lot of traditional forms of advertising: TV commercials, radio, and newspapers. We went out and spoke with everyone that we could. However, the most successful form of advertising is word of mouth and social media. We give our guests an authentic experience, they have fun, and we appreciate the fact that they then share our news. This has tripled our business in just one year! Yes, we just opened in May of 2013!” she said.
“We are very passionate about what we do, we care about the experience everyone has, we focus on that, and the rest just falls into place. Our business is not money-driven, it is people-driven,” she said.
“My best advice for someone wanting to own their own battlefield would be to make sure to find ways to make their business as diverse as possible with as many options for income as they can get and to ask others for ideas,” she said.
“We are very excited about next season as we are already taking reservations for 2015,” said Jenni.
Jenni says her biggest challenge at Hick’s Place would be Mother Nature as they are an outdoor destination.
“When we do get rained out or the winter months are just too harsh, everyone has been very understanding, and they reschedule. It’s beautiful, it truly is. The second challenge that we experience is the expense of the insurance to run a very unique outdoor activities center. It is big overhead,” she said.
Jenni and Hick have big plans.
They hope to have expanded their gaming gun arsenal with some more Battlefield Sports laser tag equipment including more mobile laser tag equipment for events hosted off location, and as always forming more partnerships with other local businesses.
The future at Hick’s Place is bright.