Hutch Putt Receives Small Business Award
Wednesday, October 20, 2021
After the fire at Ad Astra at 106 N Main, Cliff and Vicki Shank began researching what they might do with the long, skinny lot that remained. Cliff loves golf and thought it would be fun to have a miniature golf course in town, as there hadn’t been one for many years. After determining the lot size would not be large enough, they sold the property and bought the lot at their current location off of Lorraine. While they had hoped to be operational by March or April of 2017, they ran into construction delays and were finally able to open for business on June 30, 2017. In July of this year, Cliff and Vicki sold Hutch Putt and Ad Astra per Aspera Broadcasting to their son Chris and wife Jessica. The entire venture has been a family project from start to finish.
The great thing about miniature golf is that it’s an activity for all-ages, as people from the age of two to 102 can come out to play. You don’t have to be an excellent golfer to enjoy miniature golf so it’s a great place for a family outing or even a casual date.
Coordinating all the construction details prior to opening was one of their biggest challenges, from getting electricity, landscaping, and fencing to signage and designing the logo. Weather was also a challenge that caused delays, however, with their radio stations they had the ability to quickly spread the word that they were open. When COVID-19 hit, they had not yet opened for the season, and weren’t sure they were going to be able to. Thankfully, due to the outdoor nature of the activity and the ability to easily socially distance guests, they were able to implement new safety protocols and quickly reopen after the shutdown had ended. People felt safe coming out and playing even when many of the indoor activities had yet to reopen.
While all Hutch Putt employees are part time and seasonal, they have many that continue to return each year. When they first opened, they were concerned about being able to find quality, part-time employees, and were pleasantly surprised by the number of applications they received. They do their best to be flexible with employees’ schedules and all employees get to play for free.
Chris, Jessica, Cliff, and Vicki all believe in giving back to their community and staying involved. They are all members and supporters of Holy Cross Catholic Church, and support the Cancer Council of Reno County, United Way of Reno County, and several school fundraisers. Cliff is a former Big with Big Brothers Big Sisters and Chris and Jessica are active in 4-H. Chris is also a member of Rotary, on the Volunteer Center Board, Co-President of the Reno County Fair Board, and coaches youth Football. In addition, Jessica is the music teacher at Union Valley and Vicki has been a Hutch Chamber Ambassador for many years.
Thank you, Cliff, Vicki and Chris for all you do for our community.