Cre8Play, a fun New Hope-based company creating one of a kind play environments for children, may be one of the most unique companies in the U.S., according to MultiView anyway.
MultiView, a Texas-based company, publishes digital media for trade associations.
With nearly 2,000 association partnerships MultiView knows business and they know it well.
Dan Maitland, president of MulitView, knew he had connections with many of the country’s most unconventional companies.
“He decided he really wanted to showcase the American dream and these businesses,” said Callie Cady, MultiView’s communications manager. “It was more so just to give back and highlight American ingenuity.”
MultiView asked for the help of its 64,000 advertisers. Of the 40,000 companies suggested, Multiview narrowed their options before visiting each company to speak with owners and learn about the business. From 40,000 came 11 of the most intriguing companies in the country, Cre8Play of New Hope being one of them.
MultiView gathered a film crew of 10 talented individuals to travel by bus for nearly two months capturing footage, conducting interviews and getting a close look at the country’s finest business models.
The project titled “Good Company” is a web-based documentary series which will inevitably consist of 11 episodes.
On Sept. 18-19 the film crew rolled up to Cre8Play in the 50 foot bus “Darth” which was converted into an editing booth.
The crew spent two days exploring the childish adventure Cre8Play produces.
From the creative office space to the imaginative environments being constructed, the company is one worth noting.
You can barely get through the door before Mini, a calm and friendly labradoodle, greets you.
Todd Lehman is the mastermind behind the rare company.
Having grown up with a father who worked in the industry of play equipment since the ‘70s, Lehman had always been exposed to this kind of work.
Prior to Cre8Play, Lehman had been selling traditional play equipment for roughly 15 years.
In 1999 Lehman was given the opportunity to create a custom project for one of his clients.
“That was an absolute blast,” he said. “I wanted to do more projects like that.”
So, in 2005 Lehman opened Cre8Play.
Cre8Play constructs not just playgrounds but play environments where children are meant to get immersed in.
“Today’s very traditional playgrounds are very stagnant,” Lehman said. “I’m looking for a more creative, natural look.”
The first large-scale project Cre8Play ever completed was placed in Bowen Park in Illinois.
Its theme? Nature, which happens to be the company’s most popular.
“When I grew up we really didn’t have playgrounds,” Lehman said. “I grew up playing in trees, forts and swamps. We kind of created our own playground.”
Although the nature theme is popular it is far from the only one Cre8Play tackles. Projects have included barns, ships and even a goose.
All structures are made using steel, rebar, pencil rod, glass fiber reinforced concrete and environmentally-friendly paint.
The structures are made in house at the New Hope office. They are shipped to their location and reassembled on site.
Cre8Play has a few play environments within the Twin Cities including Kinderberry Hill in Eden Prairie, St. Paul Children’s Hospital and a few other small pieces at local parks or hospitals but Minnesota is just a small market for this company.
Cre8Play has immaculate structures in Guam, the Dominican Republic, Australia, England and the company is currently working on a project for Sicily.
Its staff was more than honored to be featured in MultiView’s series.
“It’s pretty flattering,” Lehman said. “Its a really neat feeling that people are interested in what we do.”
MultiView’s “Good Company” project took the crew to Indiana, Florida, Utah and Arizona among others to feature products such as squatty potty, 911 sculptures and animatronic props.
As of Sept. 19 the crew had traveled roughly 7,500 miles.
Their progress, photos and trailers to upcoming episodes can be found on the website.
The crew hopes to have 5-8 minute episodes posted to the site by late fall.
From there they hope to gain the attention of local or national television stations to eventually have it featured on television.
If all goes well you may be in store for yet another season of new and unique businesses.
Contact Gina Purcell at [email protected]