Woodworking job spawns Cedar Rapids business

Four decades back, a job was started by Travis Murray at a Cedar Rapids firm that led to the launching of Hawkeye Yard Games and made a new career focus.

“I went to search for Morgan Meredith on Mount Vernon Road SE, making the store cabinets for Frontier Co-op,” Murray explained. “Before that, I had never touched a piece of timber.

“I fell in love with woodworking. It took me nearly 40 years to determine that is exactly what I need to do.”

After locating a Facebook site that offered tips about various woodworking products Murray initially started making wood signs, like those discovered at camp websites.

“My boss at Morgan Meredith let me use his own lasers to make signs,” Murray explained. “About a couple of decades back, I started Hawkeye Yard Games, making custom cornhole games.

“Eventually I started make coinhole games, that is a table top version of the larger cornhole game with quarters or washers. Coinhole games are highly common in the southern states.”

Games are played with fabric bags full of either beans or corn. The boards usually are installed outside on grass and players receive points for tossing their corn or bean bags via a pit.

Coinhole games are similar, but quantify approximately three and a half inches by seven inches. The planks have a hole slightly larger.

It is a game that is easy. Players try to make it drop in the pit and bounce a quarter.

Three points are awarded for a quarter at the hole. The first player to score 21 points is the winner.

“I offered five collections of coinhole games to Aces and Eights Saloon in Czech Village,” Murray explained. “I also offered them a set of cornhole boards. Both the coinhole and cornhole games possess the Aces and Eights logo.”

Murray is a seller at 208 at the NewBo Shops. One learned about Hawkeye Yard Games when she acquired a set of cornhole boards in an occasional competition that Murray phases to promote his products.

Along with coinhole games, Murray’s display includes products and hints.

“I need Hawkeye Yard Games to be understood as a source of practice cornhole and coinhole games,” Murray explained. “All my wraps come from Florida or Michigan. I may have a new wrap in around a week.”

Murray uses a computer-controlled router to trim frames the unfinished boards and risers out using a program made by his boss at Morgan Meredith. He assembles the planks in his residence.

Murray’s wife, Jennifer, keeps tabs on the financing for Hawkeye Yard Games and helps her husband attach wraps to the cornhole boards that are huge. The wraps include a peel-and-stick backing which needs two individuals to attach them accurately to the planks.

Murray’s target market due to their products includes pubs and restaurants, property agents needing a housewarming gift for new homeowners, high school group and sports booster clubs trying to find a fundraising choice, couples wanting games to play in their own recreational vehicle, tailgaters at school soccer games or families looking for a match to play inside or outside.

Whereas the games sell for about $ 25 to $ 30 per set the cornhole games sell for $ 230 per set. Murray stated the wraps can be made from a variety of sources, including school logos — used with permission — and household or individual portraits.

A recent project involved the proprietor of a tractor that commissioned a set of cornhole boards.

Murray is also developing products to expand his business.

“I also do yard dice, which can be four-inch-by-four-inch wood cubes with the pits or pips of one through six burnt to them,” Murray explained. “I needed to make mine stand out, so with the help of my boss that I came up with hollow cubes with items inside of them which make noise if you shake or throw them.

“I am also working on a version of the Plinko game on ‘The Price Is Right’ that I call ‘Drinko.’ You drop pingpong balls down threw rows of pegs and where the ball lands might read ‘Have a drink’ or ‘Have a social.’

“My primary purpose is to get people more active. It seems like nobody actually gets outdoors anymore. Folks will need to get out of their own families, take along a few games and revel in the world.”

Murray expects Hawkeye Yard Games will grow into a business.

“My father owned his own business and I wish to run my own business,” he said. “Instead of working for ‘the guy,’ I need to be ‘the guy. ”’

AT A GLANCE

L Business: Hawkeye Yard Games

L Providers: Travis and Jennifer Murray

L Products: cornhole games, hints, yard dice and Coinhole

L Phone: -LRB-319-RRB- 777-8324

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http://thegazette.com/subject/news/business/woodworking-job-spawns-cedar-rapids-business-20171122