UW-Eau Claire student tries his hand at business ownership

Shaun Petrovich has been owner of bubble soccer business BattleGroundz since January

Taylor Reisdorf

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March 25, 2020

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Shaun Petrovich bought a bubble ball business when the opportunity arose through a Facebook post.

A student at UW-Eau Claire has combined his passion for business ownership and love of fun to create his very own bubble ball business: BattleGroundz.

The business, which started up in January, is still in its early stages, said Shaun Petrovich, a second-year business management student with an emphasis in entrepreneurship.

“It’s (owning a business) is a lot different than working an hourly wage job because there’s just so much more motivation,” Petrovich said. “The amount of money that you can make, and the experience you get out of it, is from how hard you work. If you’re getting paid ten bucks an hour and you put in minimal effort or you put in maximum effort, you’re still getting that ten bucks an hour. With this, you know, you control your destiny.”

Petrovich said an internship he completed this past summer inspired him to pursue business ownership.  The internship was focused on running one’s own painting business, Petrovich said.

“I was a marketing major, I thought it’d be awesome to do something marketing-related,” Petrovich said. “But after having all the hands-on experience of running my own business, I thought it was awesome and something I wanted to do more of.”

For now, Petrovich said BattleGroundz rents out bubble balls, which are large, inflatable balls with harnesses to hold within for several different occasions, like high school events, university bubble soccer leagues and tournaments, graduation parties and all-night lock-ins for schools.

Rates — according to the BattleGroundz website — are $10 for ten minutes, $15 for 20 minutes and $35 for an hour. There are also package deals available. Petrovich said BattleGroundz has a total of 20 bubble balls available.

Over winter break, a business called Knockerball Twin Ports made a Facebook post saying it was up for sale; Petrovich said he saw an opportunity in this and went for it.

“I just kind of took a leap of faith,” Petrovich said.

He said the previous owner was looking for someone to continue the tradition of bubble balls, and he was able to buy the business. Since then, Petrovich has been working to put his own spin on it and make it his own.

Sales just started recently, Petrovich said, but business has already been going well.

Two of the biggest events BattleGroundz has right now, Petrovich said, are for Superior High School. One is an all-night lock-in graduation party for the seniors’ last day of school and the other is an event promoting drug and alcohol awareness.

A main focus right now, Petrovich said, is getting a bubble soccer intramural league started at Eau Claire. He said he’s been in communication with John Bollinger, and hopes to get a three-on-three or four-on-four league approved.

“If that doesn’t pan out, I plan on just doing my own league,” Petrovich said, “kind of start my own tournament for it.”

While he doesn’t have any employees as of right now, Petrovich said he has “partners” — trusted friends who also wanted in on the business — that will start up branches of BattleGroundz in their respective hometowns this summer.

Petrovich is from Superior, Wisconsin, so he said he’ll be covering the Twin Ports, Superior and Duluth regions this summer. His partners will allow for business to expand into the Milwaukee and New Richmond areas, he said.

Lucas Semb, a second-year journalism student with a multimedia communication minor, is one of Petrovich’s business partners. Semb said he will be responsible for the Milwaukee branch of BattleGroundz.

“I’ve helped so far by just trying to reach out to people on my personal social media as well as get a start on business social media platforms,” Semb said.

He also has talked with a bouncy house company owner in the Milwaukee area about teaming up to get BattleGroundz more exposure, he said.

A main factor that both Petrovich and Semb said pushed them into the business realm is the cost of college.

“Shaun and I and the rest of our group of friends are always talking about ways we can make a lot of money and do it in a fun, somewhat easy way,” Semb said. “When Shaun bought this company and asked us to work with him, it was kind of a sign that this could be our thing.”

Owning his own business has been an overall invigorating experience, Petrovich said. He said he has learned a lot and encourages other students interested in pursuing business ownership to “just go for it.”

All in all, Petrovich said he doesn’t necessarily see BattleGroundz continuing after he graduates college. However, he said that, ideally, BattleGroundz could open up a storefront where people could come and participate in bubble soccer leagues and tournaments, instead of BattleGroundz employees going to the customers.