Chance to win: A Three Race Pack for three adults (14+) from Unser Racing. $96 Value.
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Get a glimpse into life in the fast lane at Unser Karting in Denver, Colorado. The race cars can accelerate to speeds of up to 50 MPH on the quarter mile indoor track. Inside you can also fine a bar, restaurant, batting cages and plenty of games to keep the fun coming.
Check out the Q&A below with owner and founder of Unser Racing, Scott Sutton.
Q: How did the idea for “Unser Racing” come to be?
A: In 2007 while on a business trip, I visited a venue called Chicago Indoor Racing. I had a great time and left that night saying what a great business. After selling my tech company and doing a start-up for another organization, I decided to investigate starting another business. Over dinner one night in late 2009, my wife and kids suggested that I look into that indoor kart thing that I talked about several years ago. I did some research, wrote a business plan and in July of 2010, signed a lease and started building the business. We opened in October of that same year.
Q: How has your background as a business owner played into Unser?
A: It’s helped a lot but the entertainment industry is a very different animal then the tech industry. In my first venture I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t plan as much as I should have. I overcompensated this time and initially put a ton of plans in place only to find out that they were terrible ideas. On paper, this business seemed pretty simple compared to the complex tech solutions my previous company designed and delivered. It’s far from simple and involves multiple moving parts. It took the first few years of trial-and-error to refine our operation. We’re certainly not perfect yet and are always striving to improve the experience but we deliver a much better product today then we did 3 years ago.
In both of my business ventures I’ve been a big believer in creating a positive and fun culture. It has become very obvious that it’s even more critical this time around. My leadership team and I spend a lot of time on improving and maintaining our fun and enjoyable culture which translates into a much better product for our customers. We believe in having fun both as a team and as our key deliverable. How many companies do you know where the employees insist on having their holiday party where they work? That’s cool.
Q: What is the biggest reward of owning a business?
A: I’ve got a few. The first and biggest reward so far has been our ability to create a great vehicle for our 38 employees to not only enjoy their jobs but to provide for themselves and their families. The second I’ll call the helmet effect. When our customers come off the track and take their helmets off and that adrenaline and excitement comes flowing out, that’s pretty memorable and a great reward. If I’m stressed or just need some energy, I go hang out trackside to experience the helmet effect.
Q:What do you most love about Colorado?
A: The outdoors and the people. I’m a big cyclist and love the cycling culture not to mention the great roads and trails in my backyard. I grew up in Washington State and lived in Portland, Oregon for 10 years after college which are really cool places as well. From my neighbors to our customers, everyone is really friendly. Colorado has been a great place to raise my family.
Q: What is something readers would be surprised to know about you or your business?
A: The first surprise about the business would be our initial difficulty in getting open. On the surface it looked like we moved in and started racing karts. It was not only much more difficult then that but much more expensive. We unfortunately had to deal with a municipality that didn’t want us to open, occupy a vacant building, or create jobs. In mid 2010 it was hard to believe that could have been the culture and environment that small start-up businesses had to deal with. They did everything they could to prevent us from opening.
I think people would be surprised that I never aspired or pictured myself as an entrepreneur. I started my first business out of frustration and found that I really love it. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Q: What are the plans for expansion for Unser?
A: We’re pleased with how things are going here so we have big plans for expansion. Our first stop is Dallas. We’ve committed to a 5 acre site to develop a facility from the ground up in North Dallas in a really exciting retail development. We’re attempting to raise some funds to support that expansion and hope to have several more locations in the next 4-6 years.