It was shortly after Nicole Thompson and her husband were introduced to pickleball last summer when they hit on a business idea that’s been keeping her up at night with excitement.
The couple became fast fans of what’s been dubbed the fastest-growing sport in America, and were driving home one evening when they saw people playing the game on tennis courts in the city’s West End.
“We were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to have an indoor (pickleball) center?’” Thompson said.
Once they formulated the idea, they moved quickly to line up a space that was large enough and configured properly to house a dedicated indoor pickleball facility.
“We started looking with a sense of urgency. We figured if we didn’t do it, someone else would and we wanted to be the first to market,” she said.
That urgency is expected to culminate this summer with Bangers and Dinks, a 25,000-square-foot center with eight indoor pickleball courts at 1516 Koger Center Blvd., next to Dick’s Sporting Goods and near Chesterfield Towne Center.
Thompson said she believed Bangers and Dinks would be the first indoor, dedicated pickleball facility in the area.
“There are places to play indoors but you’re sharing space with basketball or tennis courts,” Thompson said. “This is going to be the only place designed for pickleball indoors and only pickleball all day long.”
Thompson said construction is expected to start in the next few weeks on the space that’s currently occupied by an outpost of Home Makers Furniture Designs.
Thompson said Bangers and Dinks landed in the space due to construction considerations, as the layout will permit the presence of full-sized pickleball courts, which are 20 feet by 44 feet.
“The columns needed to be far enough apart to fit pickleball courts and that knocked out a lot of options in town,” she said. “The structure of the building is really what led us to this particular space. We’re thankful it’s in a central part of Chesterfield.”
Thompson declined to share the cost of her investment in the space. The project’s general contractor is DCP and The Yellow Room is the project’s architect firm.
Thomas Lynde and Colton Konvicka of Commonwealth Commercial Partners represented Bangers and Dinks in lease negotiations.
The center plans to offer several membership tiers that provide unlimited play as well as day passes for non-members. Thompson said Monday that membership pricing was still being worked out.
“The idea is we don’t want to be a members-only club. We think pickleball is one of those sports everyone can enjoy,” she said.
Besides courts, Bangers and Dinks is expected to have a shop that sells pickleball paddles and balls. The venue plans to offer a food menu, as well as beer and wine.
Bangers and Dinks is planning to be open every day from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. The center plans to offer classes and will dedicate some courts to beginners.
The name of the center is a reference to pickleball lingo. A banger is a player who hits the ball hard, while a dink is an arching, soft hit. The name came to Thompson in the middle of the night.
“I couldn’t sleep one night because I was thinking of this idea,” Thompson said. “I was like, ‘Bangers and Dinks would be really cool but there’s no way that’s available.’ At 1:30 in the morning I went to Google domains to see if the bangers and dinks domain was available and it was.”