A new business is combining two of the Gig City’s top assets—its focus on technology and its outdoor resources.
Adventure Sports Innovation, which is slated to open in late June with a Coolidge Park storefront, will provide hands-on access to the latest tech innovations in adventure sports and outdoor experiences on land and water.
It will also give local residents the opportunity to try virtual reality thrills, such as a roller coaster design/simulator that allows guests to design their own rides and then experience it virtually.
Another virtual reality adventure involves simulated hang gliding or a game in which the user walks a virtual plank to save a cat from the top of a New York sky scrapper.
“We’ve really gone out to search for what we consider are some of the best representations of novel products,” Adventure Sports Innovation co-owner Carolina Molloy said.
Customers will get access to training, rentals, tours with the electric products.
The new company is the brainchild of transplants from New York, Carolina and Patrick Molloy, who picked Chattanooga as the ideal place to open their business after looking at areas, such as cities in California, Utah and North Carolina.
“We were looking for an adventure,” Patrick said. “Chattanooga ended up being top on our list, because it had a great outdoor community already established.”
Entrepreneurial resources, a solid arts and entertainment culture, warm weather, friendly people and positive news coverage from national publications also helped the couple solidify their decision to come to Chattanooga, they said.
The founders, who both have business backgrounds, are working with manufacturers, some of whom are having trouble getting their adventure products to the masses, Patrick said.
“There are many products that have been invented and have failed because they can’t find an audience,” he said. “We wanted to solve a need our potential customers don’t even know they have.”
Experiences will range in cost from about $10 for a virtual reality experience to $250 for a half-day excursion.
Patrick isn’t offering anything he hasn’t tried himself (the electric unicycle is a challenge to learn to ride, but he and his daughter did it), and the company will require training with rentals.
“From a business perspective, what we are building into our model is multiple products and experiences,” Patrick said. “If people don’t like one product, it won’t harm us. We can stop and focus on another.”
They also aim to help customers who want to own the adventure products.
Having researched and tried a range of new adventure goods, the couple can help guide anyone who wants to buy one.
And the duo would also eventually love to create a community of people who use the products and organize meetups and other or competitions.
The couple has self-funded the capital-intensive business, which they are looking at—in part—as a chance to prove their concept before they grow the company into something bigger.
“We have big sweeping plans that we think are good for us as a business [but also that] provides a service for our customers that we think should be really exciting, fun and safely managed,” Patrick said.