White Hutchinson Leisure and Learning Group is an international multi-disciplinary consulting firm for creating leisure venues. They assist with a broad range of play environments, such as family entertainment centers, children's learning and play spaces, restaurants and “eatertainment” establishments, shopping centers and “retail-tainment,” resort and tourism locations, agri-tourism options, and religious programs.1
Randy White, a business real estate developer and consultant, and Miles Hutchinson, a tax consultant and accountant, formed White Hutchinson, Inc. in the mid-1980s.2 Initially they specialized in assisting distressed commercial real estate projects regain profitability. Then in 1989, they were asked to assist with the rebuilding of a nearby bowling center that had burned down.
Looking for a way to improve the business, they first polled the league bowlers, determined their target audience, and redesigned the bowling center around the needs of these loyal customers. Rethinking traditional designs, introducing a unifying theme, and adding amenities led to national awards for best new bowling center, best billiards area, best commercial restrooms, and best lounge/eatery.3
After this success, Randy and Miles decided to shift their focus to consulting, designing, and producing leisure and entertainment based commercial projects. At this time the leisure industry was growing with the new trend of family entertainment centers and indoor play spaces in quick-service restaurants. White Hutchinson, Inc. offered assistance with site selection, business plans, plan designs, development support, training and management, and marketing for destination leisure centers.4
Early in the 1990s a client asked them to develop a “better formula” for children's entertainment centers. As they polled mothers and children they found that families preferred nature centers, zoos, and museums over the existing commercial play businesses. To assist with their understanding of child development needs, Vicki Stoecklin became their Education & Child Development Director. With a background in education and child development, Vicki was able to define what children wanted in their play space and assist in formulating a for-profit edutainment center concept. In addition to her master's degree in education, Vicki later earned certification as a Certified Playground Safety Inspector (CPSI) in 1999 and S.A.F.E. certification from the National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) in 2005.5
With a clear edutainment concept, White Hutchinson began to offer planning, designing, consulting, and training for child care centers, preschools, Head Start and Early Head Start Centers, play gardens, and natural playgrounds. As a result of this growing interest in play and learning environments for children, White Hutchinson formed a new division of the company, the Children's Learning & Play Environments Division and renamed the company to be the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group (WHLLG).
In the leisure industry, WHLLG expanded to bring the concepts of play and entertainment to restaurants and food courts, shopping centers and retailers, resorts and tourist attractions, family farms and seasonal agriculture activities, and churches and religious organizations. They continued to win industry awards, such as best hospitality interior (2008), best new foreign family entertainment center (1994, 1996), and best children's edutainment centers (1999, 2000, 2001).6
Deliberately choosing to remain a medium-sized firm in order to remain hands-on with all projects, Randy and Vicki lead a U.S. production team of 15 architects, designers, graphic artists, and experts in landscaping, lighting, educational curriculum, and cultural considerations.7 With their base in Kansas City, Missouri, they added an international office in Doha, Qatar which is led by Saeed Al Kuwari. WHLLG also owns and operates the Foundations Entertainment University and the Institute on Creating Sustainable Environments for Young Children.8
Through their website, bi-monthly Leisure eNewsletter, social media, and industry-wide speeches, Randy promotes WHLLG's mission: “We aren't interested in good environments for children. We advocate and create high quality, developmentally appropriate learning and leisure environments for children and their families.”9
- 1. “Welcome to the White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group Website.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com > 26 April 2013.
- 2. “Miles Hutchinson.” LinkedIn. < http://www.linkedin.com/pub/miles-hutchinson/8/767/227 > 26 April 2013.
- 3. “More Information About Us.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com/aboutus/ > 26 April 2013.
- 4. “Location-Based Leisure & Entertainment.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com/leisure/ > 26 April 2013.
- 5. “Vicki Lynn Stoecklin.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com/aboutus/vicki.shtml > 11 Feb. 2013.
- 6. Op.cit., “Location-Based Leisure & Entertainment.”
- 7. Op.cit., “More Information About Us.”
- 8. “Randy White.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com/aboutus/randy.shtml > 11 Feb. 2013.
- 9. “Frequently Asked Questions.” White Hutchinson Leisure & Learning Group. < http://www.whitehutchinson.com/children/faq.shtml > 26 April 2013.