Janesville76.3°

Batting cage business is in full swing

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ANN MARIE AMES
December 26, 2009
— Rodney Jordan is taking a fresh swing at a career.

In the process, an old, empty building between Beloit and Janesville has gotten a fresh coat of paint.


After 12 years, a new business has opened in the former Prairie Cinema, 2960 Prairie Ave., Beloit.


Jordan, a Turner School Board member, has opened The Bat Cave, a retail store and indoor batting cage facility. In the future, the business will include a 2,700-square-foot, turfed training room and a room for birthday parties.


Currently, Jordan has three batting cages up and pitching. By the time he hosts a grand opening in January, he plans to have four indoor batting cages.


He’s running the only indoor batting cages in Janesville or Beloit, Jordan said.


Each cage is built inside a former theater. Two will be designed for softball batters and two for baseball batters.


The cages are set at different speeds for different batting abilities.


On a recent Friday evening, two Turner Middle School students were checking out the batting cages for the first time.


“They’re better than most,” said Nick Olszewski. He and his friend, Nick Karst, both Turner seventh-graders, liked the fact that batters get to practice in the privacy of their own room.


And the price is right, too, Jordan said. Batters can hit all day for $5. Thirty-day and yearly passes also are available for $50 and $250, respectively.


“It’s an extremely good deal for batting,” Jordan said.


He plans to sell high-end athletic gear and will cater to community demands, Jordan said. He also will operate a screen-printing business and make custom apparel, he said.


The baseball and softball atmosphere is a good fit for Jordan, whose daughters play softball for Turner as well as on traveling teams in the Rockford area.


Jordan is a former employee of Gilman Engineering. When the company shut down, Jordan worked for Cincinnati Automation of Machesney Park, Ill., before he was laid off in February.


“This is what we do,” Jordan said. “We do 80 to 90 (softball games) a summer with the girls’ traveling team. This is a natural extension of what my interests are.”



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