Adventure company Extreme Sandbox entered the Shark Tank on January 5. The Minnesota-based attraction lets revelers actually play on a construction site. This spring, they are opening a second location in Texas and plan on having five to 10 more in the next five years.
We interviewed founder Randy Stenger before the episode aired. Here’s what he told us about…
The Equipment & Atmosphere
We primarily run excavators, bulldozers, and skid steers. We also have a real working fire truck and have added additional activities and done demos on other pieces of equipment. Our atmosphere? Fun. We are a bucket list, once in a lifetime experience that caters to people’s dreams. We strive to have a truly unique top notch experience for our clients.
We thought initially it would be middle-aged guys coming out, but I quickly threw my demographics out the window shortly after opening. Since then, our minimum age is 14 years old and our oldest to date is 92 years old. We also run about 35 percent women which was originally surprising to me. I’ve actually learned that I think women enjoy doing this more than men. Lots of interesting and different groups have come out, probably one of our favorites was a Women in Business networking event last year put on by a local bank. It was a 40-plus group of all women; it was crazy fun. Women are always more energetic and aren’t afraid to scream in excitement, whereas guys are always having a blast, but they feel the need to stay reserved.
How the Business Has Grown Since It Began in 2012
We started as a part-time weekend only operation in which we were just leasing a construction trailer and three pieces of equipment. We are now a full-time year-round operation that has a 6200 square-feet facility and seven pieces of equipment. Plus we are already getting clients from all over the world who travel to our Minnesota location just to play on our toys.
Appearance on ‘Shark Tank’
I read about an open casting call back in April of 2015 in Minnesota and decided it was the perfect time. Instead of attending the open casting call in Minnesota, I was able to track down the casting producer’s email and sent them a note directly. I heard back from their assistant the next day which started my audition process. It was such a stressful process to get ready for the big pitch. However, once I prepared and got on stage, the anxiousness quickly went away. Regardless of how nervous I might get, whenever I have to talk about playing in our big sandbox the kid normally comes out of me and I can talk to whoever. It’s tough to have a difficult conversation with a guy who gets to play for a living.