Russell County couple opens softball facility in Columbus

By Blenda Copeland

Paula and Duncan Thompson of Hurtsboro have set out on a new adventure in entrepreneurialism.

The couple has opened a softball facility called Chalk Lines Softball Facility & Academy LLC in Columbus.

The grand opening was held Feb. 3.

Thompson said the idea for the business came about as he retired last summer from a 27-year military career. He and Paula talked about what kind of business would be a good option for them.

“We’re softball parents ourselves,” he said. That helped the couple target an idea for what will be the area’s only indoor facility of its kind dedicated expressly to softball.

The facility will cater to all kinds of softball players’ needs: mainly fast pitch, but also church and men’s leagues too.

“We have several instructors who will give lessons, do camps and on-site clinics,” Thompson said. Arrangements could also be made for coaches to help at clinics away from the facility.

Thompson said the facility’s main goal is to provide area softball players with their own place and environment.

Among the new business’s clientele are several travel ball teams that don’t have their own facilities.

The building encompasses 11,500 square feet, about 1,000 of which is for a show room and viewing space for parents to watch their kids train.

Inside the building are five batting cages, a fitness area and pitching machines – everything a player would need for training.

A unique service Chalk Lines offers in selling its memberships online. Membership packages vary from monthly to six months to a year packages. There are also special deals for birthday parties and team training.

“We provide all the equipment,” Thompson said, although players are welcome to bring their own personal bats if they prefer.

Scheduling is also completed online, so that there are no accidental double bookings or similar issues.

The facility is unique in that it is dedicated solely to softball (other facilities exist in the area that cater primarily to baseball players). The next closest facility Thompson is aware of that offers only to softball is in Atlanta, Ga.

The business offers consumers a wide array of services, including access to instructors, lane rentals, pitching, defense training and more. The facility seeks to recruit top line instructors from the college level and above and seeks those with local experience and even international leagues. Chalk Lines is partnering with Jo Anne Cogle, owner of Columbus CSG Crossfit in downtown Columbus to provide speed, strength and conditioning assistance.

First-time prospective clients are welcomed to come take a tour of the facility.

Chalk Lines is located at 506 Manchester Expressway, Suite D8, Columbus. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 3-8 p.m. and Saturdays 9 a.m.-6 p.m. (closed Sundays). For more information, call the store at (706) 575-9983, email chalklinessoftball@gmail.com, see the Website at www.chalklinessoftball.com or find the business on Facebook.