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Brett Harrison is a managing partner of Corolla Adventure Park in Corolla, NC.
We’re a family-oriented outdoor facility in Corolla. Our primary activity is the aerial adventure park / ropes course that allows participants to physically and mentally challenge themselves across a series of obstacles at different heights.
The adventure park is a blend of American Ninja Warrior meets Robinson Crusoe. For folks who want to stay on the ground or want a different challenge, we also now offer the fun and challenging sport of outdoor axe throwing. This takes place in a separate contained venue but that allows participants to view activity on the adventure park.
For folks not participating or who want to hang out after their activity we have a snack shack that serves an assortment of treats and beverages and a natural walking path around the facility with picnic tables and shade canopies throughout.
I believe that on some level I always envisioned that I would ultimately be a business owner.
Over the years I moved around and worked in different industries, learning what I did and did not enjoy doing and picking up skill sets along the way. Prior to the adventure park I had other business ventures with mixed success. As many people have said before, I definitely learned as much if not more from my failures than my successes.
I believe the key is to make sure that you take what you can learn from each experience and build upon that with an emphasis to change any pattern or behavior which may have previously led to failure. There is usually pain in addressing our failures as if often relates to other hardships or trials we have had in life. But these are the opportunities for greatest personal growth.
That sounds like the beginning of a therapy session haha. So many reasons I'm sure. I guess for one I don't believe that just because things are done a certain way means that they should be done that way.
In so many small businesses I think it's really about the people. And that is about the staff as much as it is the customers. Many times in life as an employee I just did not feel valued, supported, or appreciated and that ultimately translates to the customer experience.
I'm not saying that we have it right, we make mistakes constantly. But we do invest a lot of time and energy in this area and it is our mission to give our employees the best experience we can provide with the best guidance and support possible. For most of them we are a stepping stone on their journey and we want to make sure that stone takes them to a higher place, wherever it may be.
We want to help them be successful. And if we do our job right, then not only will they benefit, but our customers will experience a happy staff and ultimately have a better experience themselves. And that benefits the business. It's full circle.
Because Corolla is a magical place and seemed like a good fit for a business that wants to provide a magical experience.
Yes. I grew up and have spent most of my life on different parts of the NC coast. I felt that I knew and understood this region and my partners and I considered other parts of the coast and did have other opportunities in these locations. In the end the Outer Banks is our home and our instincts told us that this was the best place.
Probably that every challenge is different every day. But that is also part of what makes it exciting. Sometimes it is just staying in and experiencing the moment and what needs to be done then vs worrying about the bigger picture. And sometimes it’s just trying to appreciate what is there instead of always thinking about how it should be better. I am always thinking about how to do things better. It can be exhausting.
The joy that I see the park bring so many people. The transformation that you see in someone in a few hours that has done something they never thought they could do and the smiles and comments we get after. The journey that our staff take throughout the season. Many show up on Day 1 as terrified of the park as anyone. At the end of the season they leave as masters of the park, stronger and with a confidence that helps propel them forward.
The experience. It's unique for everyone and can be in the form of any emotion. Sometimes it's overcoming fear and anxiety and transforming that into pride and confidence. Sometimes it is playfulness, both in adults and children. Sometimes it's just getting a good workout.
No matter what, we work to provide a place that is safe (physically and emotionally) for people to come be in the moment and do something outside of their day-to-day life and comfort zone.
Appreciate those around you and they will appreciate you.
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