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How It All Started

About Us

Four Good Friends
Who Loved Paintball

The story of Paintball Charleston started in about 1995, with four avid paintball players and good friends, searching the southeastern United States, looking for a paintball field that was worth playing at.  From Richmond to Jacksonville to Greenville to Atlanta, every paintball field we visited had serious shortcomings.  Sometimes it was poorly designed fields.  Sometimes it was lack of playing area.  Other times it would be abysmal safety standards, clueless referees, bad management, outrageous prices or long wait times between games.

After dozens of road trips, over a few years, searching for a venue worthy of our travel time and field fees, we decided to open our own paintball field, and “do it right”.  Since nobody else seemed to have a grasp of what paintball players wanted, starting our own paintball field seemed like the logical solution.  First and foremost, we wanted a paintball field run by paintball players, FOR paintball players.

``WITH OUR BUSINESS PLAN SCRIBBLED ON A RESTAURANT NAPKIN...``

With our initial “business plan” (scribbled on a restaurant napkin) of how to run the best paintball field we could imagine (by players, FOR players), we started the search for property and funds to get the operation off the ground.   We were lucky enough to find 16 acres of dry land to rent, near the Carnes Crossroads area.  With some funds borrowed from family and some emptied personal savings accounts, we found a way to buy just enough rental markers, tanks, goggles, hoppers, barrel socks, fill stations, chronographs, safety netting, insurance, etc., to get the operation rolling.

LITTLE DID WE KNOW
WHAT WE WERE GETTING INTO

Having a few college degrees between us (none in business management), it didn’t take long to realize that our playing days were going to become very scarce.  Between building and maintaining the fields, reffing, running the rental counter, ordering supplies, repairing broken markers, replacing scratched lenses, picking up & delivering bulk CO2 tanks, etc., it became much more than a hobby, right from the start.  Every penny (and we do mean every penny) went back into the business.  That was OK, since we were paintball players, running a field for paintball players.

The first three or four years consisted of weekends spent building the fields, reffing or working the counter, with corresponding week nights spent repairing equipment or handling administrative tasks.  The little hobby had turned into additional (all 4 partners were already working 40-50 hour a week “real” jobs) full time jobs, for all of us.

At this point, two of the original 4 partners decided to “tap out”.

The 7 days a week grind of maintaining a paintball field, fixing equipment and handling the administrative tasks had taken it’s toll.  With mutual appreciation & continued friendships, the original Four Amigos became the “Two Tims”…

It was around this time that we located a new parcel of land (57 acres, this time) at the corner of Dorchester and Cross County Roads.  The original 16 acres really was inadequate for a decent paintball field.  A minimum of about 30 acres is required, to even think about having a variety of playing fields, including the necessary offsets.  We made the move in the fall of 2001, not quite sure what to expect.  With the larger property in a central location, came increased expenses such as rent (57 acres, in the North Charleston city limits), as well as just general field maintenance.  We basically started all over, with every penny, going back into upgrades (including the new store), at the Cross County Road location.  We couldn’t continue to do it on our own.  Not having any other option, due to the time demands, we hired a manager.  The players continued to come out and play, so we hired referees.  More overhead and operation expenses, but we wouldn’t have survived as a business, without them.  Still investing every possible penny back into the business (including payroll), but that’s OK, since we are players running a paintball field for players, right?

We continued to grow.  More players allowed for more upgrades.

Hey, let’s build a castle?  Another year later… and why not build a village?  Maybe some two story forts?  How about a field made of trenches ringed with sandbags?  Another village…  Pirate ships…  Why not?  The more we built, the more players came, allowing us to continue the upgrade.  We have learned a few secrets of the industry, such as revising and changing the fields, so our players don’t get bored, while at the same time, keeping consistently high standards of reffing, so that players know they will have fair, impartial, unbiased, professional referees.

Now, after 20 years in business, it’s safe to say that it’s been an incredible learning experience.  We had no idea how much time and effort it would take.

We had no idea of the sacrifices we would make.  We had no idea how popular the sport would become, and how many good friends we would make along the way.  Tens of thousands of players later, we are still amazed at how this sport can bring people together.  Sometimes for a few games and occasionally, for a lifetime.  Fierce opponents on the field one game, and best friends working up a tape line together, the next.  We have seen our younger players grow up into adults.  Many who are now showing up with children of their own, coming out to play paintball together.  We have had 3 generations of men from a single family, come out and share a day of paintball together.

Any imaginable combination of players is welcome, or just one at a time.  Players are always welcome to join in, regardless of experience levels.  The referees & coaches ensure that all games are designed to be as fair as possible, with no “stacked” teams, and no players excluded from the fun.  Tens of thousands of smiling, exhausted, happy paintball players later, we are apparently “doing it right”.

The two remaining partners have been in business together for 20+ years, through ups and downs, through tournaments and scenarios, through hurricanes, floods, tornados and fires, but we have never forgotten that we will always be paintball players, running a field FOR paintball players.

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