Founded On Friendship
Full Throttle Indoor Karting was the brainchild of two friends and racing fans. Aaron Banfield and Joe O’Gorman were both IT professionals working together at Cintas Corporation. The two were friends, and their lunch conversations were often about racing. Both men were amateur racers, lifelong racing fans, and had the desire to be self employed – ideally in something related to racing.
Banfield started looking more closely at the Indoor Karting industry and realized there was a great opportunity in Cincinnati to open a centrally located, high quality indoor karting facility. He convinced his friend, O’Gorman to “take a look” at his rough cut idea. The two started working on their plan, and looked at multiple buildings, asked a lot of questions and eventually had enough information to make their first loan application with the Small Business Administration. Their loan application was graciously denied, but they took away some key points to be more ready for the next attempt.
The two friends were persistent, and tried a different approach. They put together an information packet, and began seeking external investors. They pitched the idea to dozens of people, and managed to find 13 that were willing to invest a small amount of money to take a risk on this startup venture. They went back to the SBA, and with their group of investors, were able to secure a loan, a lease, and put their plan in place.
Construction started in June of 2011, and they were ready for customers on September 3rd , 2011. Full Throttle Indoor Karting opened its door with a 51,000 square foot facility, a fleet of 18 adult karts, and 10 youth karts. Customer response was overwhelming, and the pair of newly found entrepreneurs had to adapt to the demand quickly. The staff grew from the original forecast of 20 employees to nearly 40.
Expansion plans started early. They added 3,200 square feet of office and meeting space in 2014. As more customers showed up to race, the partners were once again challenged to handle the demand. They watched as large groups would come in, hear about a 2 hour wait, and then leave without racing because the customer’s didn’t want to wait.
Expanding The Track
Plans were set forth in 2015 to add an additional track, and additional attractions. Banfield and O’Gorman found themselves back in connection with the SBA, this time as a business with a bit of history. The pair secured a second loan, and added 30,000 square feet of space to their lease. The original track was reconfigured to better utilize the expanded space and a second track was added. The tracks were named Adrenaline and Rush – names selected from a contest from the fans. They replaced their original fleet of go karts, and expanded the fleet to include 40 adult karts, 21 youth karts, and 6 “big kid” karts – karts that will allow a parent to run with their kids or to accommodate drivers that reach adult size before they are old enough for the adult karts. They also added a new electric track the Micro Mile, to serve our youngest drivers – 4-7 year olds.
After hosting an event with the VA hospital that had some Veterans that could not participate, the pair set out to make the sport more accessible. In 2015 they contracted with Mobility Works to convert a kart to hand controls, and in 2016 added a 2-seater kart that will allow people that may not be able to drive themselves still participate.
In the Spring of 2016, the building was once again under construction. US RaceGear moved their store into the lobby. Now race fans could purchase all of the safety gear for any form of racing right in the lobby. The entire space including US RaceGear is now 88,000 square feet.
In early 2017 the pair brought additional expansion – this time in the form of an acquisition of a competing track. The pair were approached by the owner of a track in Florence, Kentucky about the purchase of an under-performing facility located there. After a careful analysis – Banfield and O’Gorman decided Northern Kentucky has great potential, and agreed to purchase the operation. The facility located just of Turfway road is expected to be open in the fall of 2017 as Full Throttle Indoor Karting – Florence. The second facility will provide the same great racing experience as the
original track in Tri County.
The pair indicate they have a great partnership, founded on friendship, trust and a sense of humor. Banfield spent multiple years at UPS where he honed his skills with logistics, process development and management. He is the partner responsible for delivering the customer experience. O’Gorman started in sales with NCR and finished his IT career developing and implanting technology that was customer facing. He leads the marketing, sales, and community relations.