Local man finds niche with game boards

Frank Sanchez, owner of Phrank’s Cornhole in Burlington, is an example of how a little play can lead to a lot of work. Sanchez discovered the game of cornhole about two years ago. Now he’s building and selling custom cornhole boards full time.

“I went to a party at my brother-in-law’s house and they were playing cornhole,” Sanchez said. “I’d never seen it before.”

His brother-in-law Gerry Vargas was having a tournament and Sanchez joined. After winning his first two games, he later did some research and found out what the game was about.

According to the American Cornhole Association, the game is similar to horeshoes except you use wooden boxes with a single hole cut in called cornhole platforms, also known as boards, and corn bags instead of metal stakes and horseshoes. Players take turns tossing corn bags at the platform until a player earns 21 points. A bag in the hole is 3 points and a bag on the platform is one point.

“I found some rules and instructions, got some scrap lumber, and made a set of corn hole boards,” Sanchez said.

A few days later, Vargas found out he had made boards and asked Sanchez to make some for him. Vargas paid for the wood and he made four sets. Vargas only took one set so Sanchez decided to sell the rest.

“I put the first set on Craigslist for $100,” he said.  He sold it later that day. He sold the second set for $150. That set also sold the same day the ad was posted.

“I didn’t have a job at the time and I thought, ‘there seems to be a market here,’” he said.

With a background in digital imagery and photography, he doesn’t only make boards, he customizes them. The first two sets he sold had UNC and Duke logos. Boards cost anywhere from $79 to $199.

“It depends on what the customer wants,” he said.  Each board is made to order. It takes about four days to make a set of boards.  Sanchez also sells cornhole accessories: corn bags, a set of eight for $20, and score towers, built-in or stand-alone.

“He does excellent work,” said Jean Gentry, one of Sanchez’s customers. “He makes boards like a piece of furniture.”

Gentry learned about Phrank’s from a mutual friend.  Sanchez was looking for a seamstress to sew the corn bags he makes.

“I’ve been sewing bags for about a year now,” Gentry said.

She recently had cornhole boards done for a family reunion. They feature the family name and some of her quilt patterns. Gentry makes custom quilts through her business Come Together Quilts. Check out her work on etsy.com, www.etsy.com/shop/cometogetherquilts, and Facebook, www.facebook.com/cometogetherquilts.

Sanchez loves cornhole because it can be played by people of all ages.

“I have a 92-year-old in the family that I’ve never beaten,” he said.

For more information and to see examples of Sanchez’s work, visit www.facebook.com/PhranksCornhole.







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