Anthony Durate takes advantage of the nice weather Monday with a go cart ride at Casel-Land Fun Center Inc. in Clovis. Casel-Land attributes their success to God, and a small business help center. CNJ staff photo: Loretta Kos.
By Glen Seeber
Kara and Kelly Caselman, owners of Casel-Land Fun Center Inc., give God the credit for helping their business grow. But they know the devil is really in the details.
That’s why they turned to the Small Business Development Center at Clovis Community College for help in starting their business in 1996.
“It was definitely a good move,” Kelly said Monday. “The bank we went to suggested we go there and they helped us map things out and figure out the cost of the project. …
“It was an eye-opening experience. You don’t think about the smaller costs, but they add up and can cost you quite a bit.”
Thanks to the business plan the Caselmans put together with the center’s assistance, they discovered they would need to ask for $100,000 more in loans than originally planned. They also got the financing they needed.
“It definitely was a tool that was well worthwhile,” he said.
Casel-Land Fun Center Inc. started small, as the Caselmans planned on growing the business in phases. “We started with go carts, and a lot of empty land, a parking lot and bathrooms,” he said.
A batting cage soon joined the fun, followed by miniature golf and, most recently, paint ball. Future expansion is under consideration, he said.
“You have to start planning a year in advance,” he said.
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Sandra Taylor-Sawyer, director of the Small Business Development Center, said the Caselmans are “prime examples of good business owners. They asked pertinent questions, did their homework and are committed to making realistic decisions.”
Taylor-Sawyer said the center provides one-on-one advisory assistance for all sorts of business concerns, not only for new startups but also for existing businesses. Advice includes business planning, personnel policies, whether a company is positioned adequately for growth, and numerous other aspects of doing business.
The center also provides workshops and seminars, and has resources beyond the reach of most small business owners, and offers referrals if someone else has the answers that are sought.
“We don’t give out any money,” she said. “What we do is assist participants to present a proposal, a written document, to a lender that provides them with a good tool to make a decision about.”
That’s how the Caselmans and the Small Business Development Center got together.
“They did the work,” Taylor-Sawyer said. “We tell our people, ‘We’re not going to be with you at 2 in the morning. … You need to think things through and have resources available.’ ”
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The Caselmans were among 18 business owners honored in February as “Success Clients” of the New Mexico Small Business Development Center Network.
Gov. Bill Richardson gave them a certificate for their “outstanding achievement and exceptional accomplishment” at a dinner.
The Casel-Land Fun Center began its season March 6 and is open from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 10 p.m. on weekends.
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Summer hours at Casel-Land will be noon to midnight Friday through Sunday, and noon to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
The Small Business Development Center can be reached at 769-4136 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.