Playing For Keeps

Firm Foundation

The blending of Woodplay with Wood Graphics isn't the only synergy behind Marenyi and Sally's success. Bringing different talents to the table, Marenyi and Sally are near-perfect entrepreneurial complements to each other.

The partners' decision to team up came naturally. Although in the corporate ranks Marenyi had helped lead a publicly traded Manhattan financial printing company to annual revenues of $60 million, he felt something was missing. "I had been very fortunate in being successful, but I was always doing it for somebody else--with somebody else's money and somebody else's reward," he says.

For his part, Sally was primed and ready for the formidable challenge of operating Woodplay after his decade-plus career as a civil engineer for a North Carolina electric cooperative. And Sally had grown up watching his father dabble in small-business pursuits such as restaurants and real estate--further fueling his entrepreneurial fire.

What lies ahead? An emphasis on retail, says Marenyi. Last October, Marenyi and Sally joined friends Byron Unger and Bob Wall to open their first retail location, Woodplay of the Carolinas, in a refurbished 10,000-square-foot former warehouse in Raleigh. "Once we're confident we have a good product mix [at the store], we're going to focus on retail," Marenyi says.

On the national scene, Woodplay now boasts more than 40 dealerships in California, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Oregon and Utah as well as eight new Midwest locations. With a state-of-the-art product line, zero debt and revenues expected to top $6 million this year, "This is definitely our breakout year," says Marenyi.

Recalling how he and Sally untangled the web of business missteps that came along with their purchase in 1994, it's clear that collaborating to reverse Woodplay's fortunes has lived up to the partners' entrepreneurial dreams--at least so far. Says Marenyi, "Knock on wood."

Contact Source

Woodplay, (919) 231-6080, http://www.woodplay.com

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This article was originally published in the August 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Playing For Keeps.

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