published Friday, February 18th, 2011

'Extreme' recreation: Future bright for local amusement developers


by Brittany Cofer
  • photo
    Contributed Photo Volunteers help put the finishing touches on the miniature golf course designed and built by Premier Amusement Developers for an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in Augusta, Ga., filmed in December. The local company specializes in commercial amusement services, but took the rare opportunity to work on the residential project for the TV show.

Bill Wilcox, Tony Hunnicutt and Tim Debord are no strangers to what crew members and volunteers have been going through this week at the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" site in Rossville.

The three co-owners of Premier Amusement Developers, in Rock Spring, Ga., battled 17-degree temperatures and intense deadlines while constructing a four-hole miniature golf course for an "Extreme Makeover" home in Augusta, Ga., just over two months ago.

"It's hard to describe," Hunnicutt said. "It was such a unique project, and just the opportunity to do it was great."

Within about 55 hours, the three men -- with the help of local volunteers -- were able to design, construct and put the finishing touches on a project that would have taken weeks to complete on a typical job site.

Specializing in commercial projects, Premier Amusement Developers "can do everything" when it comes to getting a family attraction up and running, Hunnicutt said.

The men design and build miniature golf courses, go-kart tracks, batting cages, bumper boat ponds and water attractions for public and private use.

With more than 50 years combined experience in the amusement industry -- from sales to manufacturing to construction -- they also help their clients find the right location, get all the permits required to operate, deal with subcontractors and a slew of other services.

"We provide a service we saw that wasn't being provided in our industry," Hunnicutt said. "And a lot of entrepreneurs just need that. ... We can take you from vision all the way to opening the doors."

Since the "Extreme Makeover" episode their company was featured in aired on Jan. 23, Wilcox said there has been increased interest in the business. He said no jobs have been lined up yet because of their TV exposure, but because they work all across the country, it's still a possibility.

It's been a slow start since the company formed in 2009, but Wilcox anticipates jobs will double or possibly triple this year. His goal for the year to build six to eight attractions of varying sizes, some taking as long as three months to complete.

"There's not many companies in our industry that do what we do," Wilcox said. "The future looks good."

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about Brittany Cofer...

Brittany Cofer is a business reporter who has been with the Chattanooga Times Free Press since January 2010. She previously worked as a general assignment Metro reporter. In the Business department, she covers banking, retail, tourism, consumer issues and green issues. Brittany is from Conyers, Ga., and spent two years at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga., before transferring to the University of Georgia. She graduated from the university’s Grady College of Journalism in December ...

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