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Spikeball Locates Distribution Center in Kankakee, Illinois

Spikeball, a backyard beach-friendly game manufacturer, plans to renovate an existing building and locate its 51,000-square-foot Midwest distribution center at the Riverfront Opportunity Zone in Kankakee, Illinois.

Spikeball, a game designed by founder and CEO Chris Ruder, described as a hybrid of volleyball and four square, is played with four people, an orange-sized ball and a small net in the middle.

According to the Daily Journal newspaper, quoted by the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County, “Ruder discovered the game while on vacation in 2003 in Hawaii. He loved it so much, he set out to bring the game back into prominence. He learned the game had not been patented and the trademark had expired. He paid only several hundred dollars for the trademark and later earned a patent for design changes to the game. The business was incorporated in 2007 and sales began in 2008.”

“Just standing in here I can’t believe it. I started this in my basement. I’m absolutely astonished,” he told the newspaper. “I’m just flabbergasted at how large this has become and we’re having fun doing this. It’s icing on the cake to be able to come back to my roots. I wanted a place in Kankakee. I wanted to make my roots even deeper here.”

Tim Nugent, president and CEO of the Economic Alliance of Kankakee County noted, “This was an empty location. This is just another one of those stories. While it’s a challenge when there is empty space, it’s also an opportunity,” he said. “We’ve seen it time and time again. It’s the circle of life for business. Someone leaves and another steps in to fill that void.”

Nugent said the fact Ruder is from Kankakee only makes the situation more special.

Adam LaGesse, the company’s Midwest distribution manager said upgrades should be happening soon and the location will soon turn very busy as the holiday shopping season approaches. “Things are going to get crazy here in the next month or so. People are going to notice a lot of activity here,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ruder sees even greater growth. He told the newspaper professional sports teams are using Spikeball as a training and team-building exercise. “I have to say, that’s fantastic marketing for us. No way did I think it would ever turn into this. Not in a million years.”

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