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News & Press: FOCUS

Focus on Small Business: Battleball Lansing

Friday, March 3, 2017  
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Laughter Bounces Back

Sports have always been a part of who Tanya Baucom is. She grew up athletic, loves friendly competition and enjoys not only being a part of the games, but also watching them. One sport Baucom never played, however, is soccer. In her words, she is awful at it. Yet, soccer is Baucom’s business. Well, bubble soccer that is.

Battleball Lansing is a service-oriented business. Upon booking a party online or by phone, on the day of the event, Baucom’s team brings to the location everything needed for a game of bubble soccer: bubble soccer balls, soccer balls, nets, a cooler of ice-cold water and one or two event hosts that also serve as referees. Along with bubble soccer, Battleball Lansing also offers giant Jenga, giant Connect Four and an additional game called Battle Darts: a game of darts played with Velcro soccer balls and an 11-foot inflatable dartboard.

Baucom works with schools, camps, reunions, open houses, clubs — any group that wants to give the sport a try. With 36 Battleballs and two trailers, Baucom and her team of five travel throughout Michigan. They have even gone as far as Ohio for a party.

“Wherever people want us to go, we go!” said Baucom.

Battleball Lansing also partners with Lansing Indoor Sports Arena and offers bubble soccer and Battle Darts every Tuesday night from 8 to 10 p.m. for the price of just $15. Baucom enjoys this partnership as it gives her business a consistent presence and is an affordable opportunity for people to try the sport. Baucom is even flexible with her packages and pricing, saying that the sport is something everyone should experience, price not being a deal-breaker.

Baucom discovered bubble soccer while scrolling through Facebook one day. After watching a video, she further researched the sport to possibly use as a fundraiser, in addition to the 5K event that she hosts each year in honor of her sister who passed away in 2010. While trying to find the closest location, Baucom realized that the only one around her was Detroit. After speaking with the owner and researching more, she discovered she could buy the license for the name, buy the balls and start a business.

“I am so thankful to the community and surrounding communities that bring us to their homes, to trust us that they’re going to have a good time, that they’re kids are going to be safe, even though it’s the fear of the unknown, because it is different. I do have to emphasize that a lot.”

With almost two years since the inception of Battleball Lansing, there hasn’t been a single injury from a party. Baucom is considering expanding her business to include a party-planning aspect, but says she doesn’t think she will expand locations beyond her home. Though there’ve been hurdles, the joy her business has brought to others is priceless.

“The parties, the people — you have grown men that are like big ol’ kids. They are giggling like little schoolgirls,” said Baucom. “With the way we are now as a society, everything is rush, rush, rush — there’s so much stress. You don’t see a lot of laughter anymore and that is the single thing that I love most about my business: I get to see people laugh. I get to bring something to make them laugh.”

Click here to download the March issue of FOCUS.

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