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Community Highlights: Meet Dave Pando of LVL UP Sports Paintball Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dave Pando. 

Hi Dave, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
My name is Dave Pando, and being an entrepreneur has run in my family for generations. My grandfather owned a Car Dealership in Cleveland, as did my Father among other businesses, and my beautiful wife is also an entrepreneur (Megan Pando, Founder of Studio 614 and Makers Social). At a very young age, around 10, I had way too much fun at a paintball birthday party, and it quickly became my favorite hobby. By 13, besides playing every weekend, I had saved enough money to buy a few extra sets of extra paintball equipment and began charging kids from my middle school to play paintball in the woods behind my house. After graduating from Ohio University with a Marketing Degree, I moved to Southern California to work for some of the biggest brands in the industry. Eventually, I got a job running all of the marketing for one of the largest paintball parks in San Diego. After 5 years of industry experience, I moved back home to Ohio to find a location to build my own paintball park. Central Ohio seemed to be the best fit for what I was trying to do, and luckily, I was able to find land in Grove City which is the perfect vibe for a massive 36-acre, top-tier paintball facility. The rest is history! 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
Opening any business in the beginning is tough. I did not have a lot of money start this paintball business, and even with (what I thought was) a solid business plan and lots of ambition, the banks, and investors I was pitching were not interested. I was declined an SBA loan from 11 different banks in central Ohio. Never giving up, I eventually found an OU Alumni that had taken his kids to play paintball many times, and my business plan resonated with him. He invested $50,000, I maxed out ever credit card I could get my hands on, and slowly but surely, LVL UP Sports is what it is today. I invested every dollar back into the business for the first three years. All of my spending money came from side hustles and I worked 100-hour weeks for years in a row. Starting a business without being independently wealthy is extremely difficult as the banks and most investors won’t give you the time of day. 

Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
LVL UP Sports is Central Ohio’s #1 rated paintball park and proshop. Built on over 36 acres of land in Grove City, we have 10 different playing fields (some as large as 150,000 sq ft), premium rental gear, and excellent staff to host both small and groups of over 100 players. Our specialty is unforgettable birthday parties and team-building events. We host around 20,000 players a year, from first-timers to professional paintball players that travel the world playing in competitive tournaments. Customers choose LVL UP because of our incredibly unique playing fields, full of castles, cars, boats, and airplanes, along with our extremely high customer service standards to ensure that every customer’s paintball experience is special. LVL UP is also home to one of the best professional paintball teams in the world, named Columbus LVL, who competes and has made the podium on the highest stage the sport offers, the National XBall League (NXL). We are extremely proud to have hosted paintball outings for some of Columbus’ most prestigious organizations, like the Columbus Crew, The Ohio State University Football Team, and an array of Military and Police training events. Readers should know that paintball is statistically one of the safest sports you can play. Believe it or not, it’s significantly more dangerous to play traditional sports like hockey, football, and baseball. Bowling and cheerleading are both more dangerous than paintball! Paintball is an excellent way to bond with family members, teammates, and best friends. No one ever forgets the first time they play, and we are proud to offer that experience to thousands of players every year. 

Alright so before we go, can you talk to us a bit about how people can work with you, collaborate with you or support you?
We love doing trades with other local businesses, if any businesses would like to trade they can email info@lvlupsports.com. Regular customers looking to host their next birthday or team-building event can visit www.LVLUPSPORTS.com and book a party directly from our website. 

Pricing:

  • Paintball costs around $30 – $60 per player, depending on how trigger happy you are
  • We take private group reservations 7 days a week; walk-ins welcome every Saturday + Sunday

Contact Info:

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