Brad Wheedleton is a certified member of the bobblehead horde that descends on Nationals Park for a few games every season.
These collectors line up for hours to get the limited supply of Anthony Rendon, Trea Turner or Bryce Harper plastic caricatures with the outsize heads that allow fans to have a piece of their team on their shelves or desks.
One day, Wheedleton looked around at his fellow collectors standing in line for hours to get a piece of plastic — and he saw a business.
He doesn’t make bobbleheads. He makes display cases that you put your bobbleheads in.
Talk about a niche business.
He launched Bobblehouse Industries nearly four years ago. Wheedleton is reluctant to get into the financial details but acknowledged that his one-man company nets him a profit north of $20,000 a year after expenses.
It’s not a ton. But he is one of the tens of thousands of mini-preneurs who use their skills to run a side business that gives them immense gratification and some extra dollars. Wheedleton is doing something he loves. During the day, the 43-year-old is a counterman at a motorcycle shop. At night and on weekends, he makes mini-replicas of the parts of stadiums in his Ashburn garage.
“I have sold 650 pieces in the last 3½ years. Miniature dugouts, hockey benches, penalty boxes, bullpens,” Wheedleton said. “I also make miniatures for holding baseballs.”
At last count, Wheedleton had made miniatures of least 27 out of the 30 Major League Baseball dugouts.
Who buys these things?
Wheedleton built a dugout replica of the University of Missouri baseball stadium at the request of Erica Scherzer, the wife of Nationals star pitcher Max Scherzer.