MARSHALL - "The absence of everything annoying with the inclusion of everything awesome."
This is the meaning of the word Hooguh, and also happens to be everything the new business in Marshall stands for.
Hooguh is a gamification company that has recently taken residence in the offices of 208 W. Main St.
Photo by Samantha Downing
James Johnson, Josh Toney, Caleb Toney and Patrick Holder are advocates for awesome as employees of Hooguh.
"We have been working for a long time to get this going. We started with three guys in a dingy basement, and a year and a half later we have nine employees and office space," said Caleb Toney, the member relations team member.
"We want Hooguh to do for Marshall what Microsoft did for Seattle. We are all about helping the community, and its members, thrive," Toney said.
This company is much different from anything else Marshall has to offer. The founders of the business are open to doing anything and everything to help market small business in the area.
"Our goal is to level the playing field for the small businesses of Marshall to compete with the corporations through promotion," Toney said.
The trio that came up with this gamification idea could have started anywhere. It probably would have been more profitable more quickly had they gone to a big city, but they have big ideas for this small town.
"Marshall is a growing community. There is diversity here, and it is a great testing ground. It may be weird for a small town, but it has perfect big city connections," Toney said.
Gamification is a broad, new term, but Hooguh already has plans for the process. Its first test run is part of the Independence Park festivities on the Fourth of July.
"We have activities going on from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will be a kickball tournament that you can pre-register for. We will be serving lunch. Don't miss out on the biggest water balloon fight Marshall has ever seen starting at 2 p.m.," Toney said.
"Everyone is welcome. We hope the community is as excited as we are," he added said.
All of the donations Hooguh receives for their efforts on the Fourth are going to Western Community Action.
"I only had nine days to plan for this event; so you can imagine what next year will be like when I have a whole year," Toney said.
The people who work here like to turn everything into a game. They want to use big ideas and fun adventures to promote different businesses and causes.
Toney didn't want to go into too much detail about the games they have in the works for Marshall because they are a surprise to everyone. One sneak peek he offered was about the geo scan that will make its first appearance on the Fourth.
"It is a variation of geo-caching. I will explain it further at Independence when it begins, but it is a more fun version of what you may have done before.
One hundred Chamber dollars will go to the winner, Toney said.
Toney is not the only one who has been working hard at the activities the company is planning. In all, there are nine employees. The other eight are Josh Toney, James Johnson, Patrick Holder, Branndon Hood, Joseph Evans, Joyce Robinson, Trevor Parlberg and Micheal Clawson.
Hooguh is not content with its number of employees. Already, they are looking to expand and are in need of programmers and web designers.
"We want everyone to do well - both the city and our company," Toney said.