“COVID was the perfect storm for us. People were told to stay home. Corn hole gave them something to do, and it's a game everybody can play."
Jared: "My brother, Kerry, and I are both pipeliners by trade. I've been doing it since 1999, right after I graduated from high school. Our job requires us to work away from home for months, sometimes eight to 10 months. I have wanted to be home for a long time because I have three kids aging from 6 to 16. I was laid off January 4 and Kerry was laid off in November. Oil prices had dropped pretty badly at that time, so companies quit building, quit drilling, quit laying pipe. They don’t need a lot of industrial radiographers like us when they aren’t getting to lay new pipe or upgrade old pipe. After getting laid off, I was going to head out again as oil prices picked up, but then COVID kind of took over and shut down some of the big jobs and pushed back some jobs."
Kerry: "I've always tried to work six months and then plan on being off for a couple months. After I was laid off in November, I did a month and a half job in southern Oklahoma. But it wasn't very consistent, a day here, a day there. Which was fine because I got to stay at home. So I guess that's kind of what was the start of it for me. I've always wanted to stay home for a while."
Jared: "What happened next was the start of Beens’ Workshop. Somebody hit me up on Facebook and asked if we could build them a set of cornhole boards. Kerry has a shop in his backyard and has built furniture in there. We built the first set, not really having a clue on how to do it. From there, it just kind of took off overnight. We made a Facebook page and it's been nonstop ever since. Even when we tried to slow it down, it didn't slow. We tried. We even raised the price and people still kept pouring in. As time went on, we were improving on our skills. That news started to spread more and more."
Kerry: "We've turned out quality work, so we are kept busy with return customers, word of mouth and customer referrals; even from other states. We’ve been shipping these heavy boards to other states and people have been coming here from other states as well to pick them up. I mean, it’s not just the corn hole boards, it’s also the furniture. And with our scrap material, we’ve been building game boards such as Jenga & Wahoo games, signs, trophy plaques, etc. We stay busy. It’s just Jared and me. We need to figure out the next step in this endeavor."
Jared: "It’s true because we can’t even take off to go fishing because we have to make corn hole boards. The whole purpose was just to try to make a little extra money. It was just a hobby for us. We wanted to have a hobby that made us a little money, allowed us to fish and hunt, and do the things we wanted to do like spend time with our families."
Kerry: "Now, it's turned into a business. And I hate to say this, but COVID was the perfect storm for us. People were told to stay home. Corn hole gave them something to do, and it’s a game everybody can play."
Jared: "When there were no professional sports on television, ESPN was showing corn hole all the time. Since it’s an outside game, people can social distance and organizations have been hosting corn hole tournaments as fundraisers. Since they can’t do the usual kinds of fundraisers inside buildings, this was perfect."
Kerry: "So, it was perfect for us. I am sorry to say that because so many people lost jobs and things but, I mean, at the same time COVID is the reason I didn't go back to work. COVID shut down some of the big jobs that I was supposed to go on. It kind of worked out both ways, it was a good thing and it was a bad thing. For a lot of people it has been a bad thing, but for us as a small business getting started, it was perfect." Been's Workshop #Oklahoma