By Amanda Kuhnert
Peter Miller started his first business when he was eight years old. He made duct tape wallets and sold them at school and craft fairs. In high school, he ran a clothing company that sold shirts, hoodies, and stickers. And in college, after discovering a passion for woodworking, Miller and a friend created a YouTube channel, FishOverChicksWoodworking, that now has over 10K followers. They make videos of woodworking tutorials and projects.
“I’ve always been entrepreneurial minded,” said Miller, who is now a junior at Champlain College, studying business administration with a focus on entrepreneurship. His latest business venture, The Portable Mini Golf Company, pairs his career aspirations and woodworking prowess. He rents out 9-, 18-, and 36-hole mini-golf courses for group events. Rentals include the course, clubs, balls, scorecards, and pencils. The course can be erected indoors or outdoors, and the price includes set up and take down.
Miller built the course—holes, jumps, and obstacles—himself. “I originally wanted to make an indoor mini golf course,” he said. “But when I realized the overhead was too expensive, the idea arose to build small, 8-by-2 foot mini golf holes and rent them out for parties and gatherings, just like a bouncy house.” Miller’s business is the first of its kind in Vermont.
Miller’s early entrepreneurial experiences taught him how to talk about his business and interact with customers, he said. But he knew he had more to learn. So early on in his business venture, Miller reached out to his professors at Champlain College, who put him in touch with Sarah Kearns, an advisor with the Vermont Small Business Development Center (VtSBDC).
“VtSBDC and Sarah Kearns have been the biggest help to my business,” he said. “I would be nowhere near where I am today without their help.” Through his work with Kearns, Miller has learned the importance of networking, tracking his finances, marketing, customer service, and keeping up with the everyday tasks of running a business.
Miller launched his business during the pandemic, when people were looking for creative ways to socialize outdoors. “The outdoor nature of it really helped my sales,” he said. “During the summer season, people were itching to have outdoor gatherings, and I believe that is a big reason why my rentals were so strong.” Miller has tripled his sales since his first year in business.
Miller continues to expand his course offerings and update existing holes to keep them fun and challenging for putters of all ages. So far, he has designed and built 45 different mini-golf holes.
For more info, visit theportableminigolfcompany.com