Herald JournalHerald Journal, Dec. 1, 2003

Total Entertainment in HL sold to Whitcomb family

By Lynda Jensen

The 7 Kids Entertainment corporation recently purchased Total Entertainment in Howard Lake ­ with the corporation otherwise known as the Gary and Rhonda Whitcomb family of Winsted.

The name refers to the Whitcombs' seven children, ranging in age from 7 to 17 years, Gary Whitcomb said.

"I have seven kids who need jobs," Whitcomb joked about the purchase of the business.

The Whitcomb children are Hayley 17, Jodie 16, Andie 13, Jace 12, Corey 11, Riley 10, and Gabe 7.

The Whitcombs purchased the business from John and Shari Zander of Howard Lake Nov. 3.

The purchase was actually in the works much longer than most think, since the Whitcombs were interested in the business when it was sold by Mark Custer to the Zanders last year, he said.

"We've always had an interest in owning it," Whitcomb said.

However, the timing wasn't right, he said. "I told him (John Zander) six or eight months ago that if he ever wanted to sell, we'd be interested."

"He approached us this summer," Whitcomb said.

This will be the first business venture for the Whitcombs. The idea of owning his own business and being his own boss piqued his interest, he said.

Rhonda is an eighth grade teacher at St. James in Howard Lake. Gary is the girls basketball coach for Holy Trinity.

Whitcomb has an eye on the future, and is thinking about adding future products such as satellite dishes or even a bookstore down the road.

The biggest challenge for them will be the cutback of VHS manufacturing by an industry that wants people to use DVDs because they are cheaper to make, he said.

Production of VHS tapes is down by 22 percent, he commented.

It's getting tougher to come by VHS tapes, he commented.

The problem is trying to re-train people into using DVDs, he said.

The Howard Lake business in not affiliated with the Total Entertainment Center in Winsted, Whitcomb said.

Hours will remain the same, Sunday through Tuesday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday 4 to 9 p.m., Thursday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.

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