John DiDonato

John DiDonato owns Gear-Up Paintball in Hammonton.

Business: Gear-Up Paintball

Owner: John J. DiDonato, 48, of Hammonton

Location: 240 S. White Horse Pike, Hammonton

Latest Video

Started: May 2012

Employees: Five

Phone: 609-561-7060

I’m in the real estate-development business. I’ve owned Blueberry Crossing, the shopping center next to the paintball course in Hammonton, since 1995.

My 12-year-old son, Zachary, played paintball and wanted to open his own business venture.

We’ve played just about every course in South Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware. He talked to a lot of kids about what they liked in a course. They had a good time coming up with ideas.

We have four playing fields with more planned on more than 20 acres. One has an Army transport vehicle — a deuce-and-a-half truck. We took out the engine and anything with fluids. We’re still trying to get a tank and some jeeps.

It’s great for the kids. Kids still don’t have a lot to do here unless they’re involved in organized activities. It really builds up camaraderie. We also have a group of women who come out for a ladies-only event.

We’re pretty excited. We’re the only field in Atlantic, Cape May or Cumberland counties. We have a wide area to draw from. We do quite a bit of business with bachelor parties and casino groups. They come from all over.

The rates start at $39, which includes admission and 500 paintballs. We also have $10 gun and equipment rentals.

Children 10 or older are allowed to play. We’re open for groups any day of the week. Sundays we allow individual walk-ons from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The response has been very good so far. The course is a good synergy for the shopping center. People stop for lunch at the pizza place or the Chinese restaurant.

Future plans: We will be doing some tournaments later. Paintball has been around for a while. Every business has its ups and downs. But kids want action. It’s a real-life video game.

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